In New Zealand, we have the most beautiful native wildlife. Pīwakawaka, tūī, kererū, silvereyes and bellbirds roam our gardens and fill them with their beautiful song.
But there are also predators in our gardens. Rats and mice are obvious pests; but hedgehogs also eat native lizards, birds’ eggs and can even attack backyard chickens!
Find out which pests are lurking in your yard by making this animal tracking tunnel.
Use cardboard to form a triangle. It should be about 90cm long.
Create an ink pad by putting some tissue paper or a sponge on a plastic lid (make sure it fits in your tunnel).
Mix 2 tsp food colouring and 1 tsp water. Pour it on the tissue or sponge until it is soaking wet to make an ink pad.
Put a blob of peanut butter in the middle of the tissue. This is the ‘bait’, to attract creatures into your tunnel.
Place a long piece of paper into the tunnel, then put the lid with the ink pad in the centre of the tunnel. Creatures should be able to walk through the ink pad and then over the paper.
Place your animal tracking tunnel in your garden. Along a fenceline or next to a building is a good place. Leave it for a night and then check it to see what has visited! If you don’t have any visitors, move the tunnel to another place and see what happens.
The Gotcha Traps website has great information about animal tracks, to help you decipher them: https://gotchatraps.co.nz/tracking-guide/
When you’ve worked out who is visiting, you can decide if you’d like to put bait down, or traps. You’ll need to be careful to make sure that small children can’t get to the bait or be hurt by the traps!
We’d love to see what you make!
If you liked this activity, you’ll love these nature-themed crafts: