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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 6, 2017

Trap type and positioning: how to trap Savi’s pine voles using the tunnel system

  • Filippo Dell’Agnello EMAIL logo , Valeria Mazza , Matilde Martini , Sandro Bertolino , Dario Capizzi , Francesco Riga and Marco Zaccaroni
From the journal Mammalia


Savi’s pine vole, Microtus savii, is the most widespread Italian vole species, an important rodent pest in agriculture and yet one of the least studied species. One of the reasons for this gap in knowledge is that members of this species are quite difficult to capture with standard trapping procedures, being fossorial and rarely active aboveground. For this reason, we developed a protocol that maximizes trapping success. This method requires the identification of active tunnel holes and the placement of traps directly in front of the exits. We also compared capture and recapture rates of Savi’s pine voles in three different trap types: Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), Longworth and Ugglan. If properly equipped with food and nesting material, INRA, Longworth and Ugglan traps showed similar capture rates, but the recapture rate of Ugglan traps was the highest of the three kinds of traps. These results, in combination with the species’ fossorial and social habits, lead us to conclude that Ugglan traps are the best suited for studies on Savi’s pine voles. Our results may have implications for planning and implementing management strategies based on traps rather than rodenticides, as well as field studies on other fossorial small mammals.


The study was performed within the framework of a larger research project on Microtus savii, which was funded by Bayer CropScience. We thank Ralf Barfknecht, Jörg Hahne and Emmanuelle Bonneris from Bayer CropScience for their support, as well as François Chiron for lending us the INRA traps. We thank the two anonymous referees that greatly improved our manuscript.

  1. Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare to have no conflicts of interest regarding this article.


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Received: 2017-01-16
Accepted: 2017-08-29
Published Online: 2017-10-06
Published in Print: 2018-07-26

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