For 3 years Ray and I have been studying the effects of catastrophic fire on small mammal populations in Bastrop State Park. The small mammal populations referred to are rodents although we’ve gotten plenty of unexpected animals in our live traps.
Ray has been working with small mammals for 20 or more years now.
In fact, he can work up, that is record the weight, sex, take measurements and identify species, of one rodent in less than 30 seconds. In a project where the number of rodents worked up is variable, a fast set of hands from both crew members is imperative. The numbers of small mammals worked up has varied dramatically since the start of the project. We’ve seen fluctuations in the numbers of rodents captured in a day range from a handful to several hundred, often with multiple rodents in one live-trap.
Despite the high numbers of feisty rodents, Ray has an uncanny ability to avoid bites, especially those from hispid cotton rats. Cotton rats put up a fight and pack a punch!
These aforementioned reasons are the cause of my elations. I cannot help but feel joy about the fact that Ray, not only got nailed by a cottonrat but managed to have this mishap infront of the camera.
It’s tradition that before weighting any rodents, Ray always calls out an estimation of the rodents weight. Normally, Ray is 99% correct when calling weight before the workup however, as fate would have it, he underestimated the weight.
A rat bite and a misjudgment on camera? Talk about the cherry on top of the cake.
(Note: as crew members, we compete to see who’s mad skills reign supreme. I usually don’t beat the old man much but I hold my own).