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This blog is predominately about camera trapping in California. We camera trap to save our souls and to teach primary school students about biology and conservation. We will also touch on other camera trapping news and musings, sets from afar, mediocre herpetology, sucky birding, and other natural history discussions.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In the Land of Chollas

I set this camera trap on a woodrat nest about 150 feet from our campsite in the Granite Mountains. This is a wonderful campsite in the Mojave National Preserve that we have used three years in a row now. However, this is the first time I have had a homebrew camera trap with me and thus my first Neotoma lepida camera trap photos.

After setting the trap I went back to my cot only to realize that there was an active nest 4 feet from where I would sleep and it was occupied by daring little rat that had no problem letting me watch it from a few feet away.  He must have known there was no way I was going through the cholla to grab him.
Photo by SPP

Desert woodrats often build a defense fence of dried cholla around their nests or build them at the bases of a living cholla plant.  This is stuff that will go right through your shoe sole and into your foot.  Flip flops fare no better, I promise.

The nest had another visitor that I will tell you about a little later

Bringing some creosote to the nest


  1. he's adorable! i'd have watched him for hours. :)

  2. How cool!?

    One of my least favorite aspects of using commercial cams....they don't work as well on rodents.

    Nice job with the homebrew.

  3. Nice -- another species for the CT Life List.

  4. Good set, and great cholla shot. I caught a few fun pics of them too that I'm working on for a post.

  5. Thanks all. I have now gotten three species of California woodrat including the bushy-tail we got during the Codger's course last Summer.

    Randomtruth: I should have coordinated posts with you. I will throw a link up when you get the post up.

  6. No worries man - I've got a little backlog anyway, and wouldn't wanna hold ya up on telling a good story. :)