When the Good Nature automatic traps were first released onto the market, WekaWatch decided to wait and see if they worked for others before investing $200 in one for ourselves. However in July last year we were loaned a Good Nature trap, the one designed for possums. Great! At no cost to us we could try one out!
As with all traps in the weka area we fixed it a metre from the ground. Timms traps at this height successfully catch possums and we set one of our trail cameras to watch what happened. Remarkable photos appeared of possums scampering up and down the tree, often several times in quick succession. They are seen sniffing the lure as in the photo on the right or even sitting on top of the trap!. For more than 6 months we waited. Not a single kill.!
We showed our weka man Tony these photos and said ‘Look, see, we’ve proved it! The traps do not work!’ Tony, being a scientist asked ‘Why not? Is it because the tree is too fat and the possum’s arms are stretched too wide for it to put its head right in?’
So we measured the diameter of all the trees on which our Timms traps are fixed and compared their capture successes over the past 2 years. Sure enough, the most successful trap by far was the one called Jaffa Cafe. This trap, on a skinny tanekaha with a diameter of just 6 cm, had caught 10 possums in 2017 and 11 in 2016! Nearly 18% of all the possums caught (21 out of 84) were caught in just 1 of the 12 traps deployed over those 2 years!
We moved the Good Nature trap to a skinny tanekaha, diameter 13 cms. We fixed a Timms trap beside it at the same height for comparison, shifted the camera, and waited . . . with bated breath.
After having had the trap set since July 17th 2017, and on the skinny tree (see it on the right in the photo above) since late November, on 28th January 2018 John found the first possum under the Good Nature trap! It was a big male, 2.5 kilos.
There is a 30 second delay between each series of photos on the trail camera so the moment of the ‘coup de grace’ was not captured! On the right is a photo of the possum and its last venture up the tree.
What a surprise it got!