Pursuing packrats: An evaluation of noninvasive detection methods for Neotoma

Aaron C. Gooley, Eric M. Schauber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Woodrats (Neotoma spp.) are imperiled in large swathes of the United States. Their populations have previously been monitored mainly through live-trapping and sign surveys. However, these methods are labor-intensive and either stress captured animals or limited by sign visibility and persistence. As noninvasive alternatives, we deployed baited camera traps and baited track plates to monitor eastern woodrat (N. floridana) presence along rocky outcrops at 4 woodrat reintroduction sites in southern Illinois, USA, during May 2013 (5 camera and track-plate stations/site) and May and September 2014 (4 camera and track-plate stations/site) to compare their effectiveness. During each deployment, camera traps detected woodrat presence at all 4 sites while track plates only detected presence at 2–3 sites. A greater proportion of camera traps than track plates recorded detections during each deployment. Camera traps required more person-hours to deploy and retrieve, but resulted in more detections per hour effort than track plates. We conclude that baited camera traps are superior to baited track plates for detecting and monitoring woodrat presence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)701-705
Number of pages5
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Neotoma
  • camera trap
  • eastern woodrat
  • illinois
  • monitoring
  • noninvasive
  • remote camera
  • track plate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


Dive into the research topics of 'Pursuing packrats: An evaluation of noninvasive detection methods for Neotoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this