Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Iowa
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Jacques, C.N., J.S. Zweep, M.E. Scheihing, W.T. Rechkemmer, S.E. Jenkins, R.W. Klaver, and S.A. Dubay. 2107. Influence of Trap Modifications and Environmental Predictors on Capture Success of Southern Flying Squirrels . Wildlife Society Bulletin 41:313-321.


Sherman traps are the most commonly used live traps in studies of small mammals and have been successfully used in the capture of arboreal species such as the southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans). However, southern flying squirrels spend proportionately less time foraging on the ground, which necessitates above-ground trapping methods and modifications of capture protocols. Further, quantitative estimates of the factors affecting capture success of flying squirrel populations have focused solely on effects of trapping methodologies. We developed and evaluated the efficacy of a portable Sherman trap design for capturing southern flying squirrels during 2015–2016 at the Alice L. Kibbe Field Station, Illinois, USA. Additionally, we used logistic regression to quantify potential effects of time-dependent (e.g., weather) and time-independent (e.g., habitat, extrinsic) factors on capture success of southern flying squirrels. We recorded 165 capture events (119 F, 44 M, 2 unknown) using our modified Sherman trap design. Probability of capture success decreased 0.10/18C increase in daily maximum temperature and by 0.09/unit increase (km/hr) in wind speed. Conversely, probability of capture success increased by 1.2/18C increase in daily minimum temperature. The probability of capturing flying squirrels was negatively associated with trap orientation. When tree-mounted traps are required, ourmodified trap design is a safe, efficient, and cost-effective method of capturing animals when moderate weather (temp and wind speed) conditions prevail. Further, we believe that strategic placement of traps (e.g., northeast side of tree) and quantitative information on site-specific (e.g., trap location) characteristics (e.g., topographical features, slope, aspect, climatologic factors) could increase southern flying squirrel capture success.