Camera-trap ID

This is my collection of reference images for mammal camera-trap surveys.  Most photos were taken as part of my PhD research in the Otway Ranges, Victoria, but others are from surveys of Coranderrk Bushland for Zoos Victoria.

For each species, I’ve provided some enlarged photographs that highlight the key features and show the species from several different angles. Clicking on the image will open a full-screen version. For some species, I have also included a full photograph to provide scale.

I’d love to hear from you if you have additional ID tips or photos of other Australian species to contribute.

However, user-beware: species identification from camera-trap images is notoriously variable.  I’ve had these images checked by my colleagues, but if you disagree about any of the IDs or tips below, please let me know!

THE LITTLEST CRITTERS:

Agile antechinus – Antechinus agilis

Agile Antechinus

Agile antechinus den and now apparently forage communally!  In this photo, three of them are investigating a lure of peanut butter, oats, golden syrup and pistachio essence

Dusky antechinus – Antechinus swainsonii

DuskyAntechinus2

Antechinus swainsonii at same site, day and night. Larger than A. agilis, with a shorter tail

A dusky antechinus at the same location during day and night. Duskies are larger than agile antechinus and have a relatively short tail (approx. 3/4 body length)

Eastern pygmy possum – Cercartetus nanus

EasternPygmyPossum

Agile antechinus to left of post, eastern pygmy possum on right

In this photo, there is an agile antechinus to the left of the post and an eastern pygmy possum at the bait-holders above.  Note the differences in their ears and tails

House mouse – Mus musculus

HouseMouse


A WEE BIT BIGGER:

Bush rat – Rattus fuscipes

BushRat

Swamp rat – Rattus lutreolus

SwampRat

Black rat – Rattus rattus

BlackRat


FOOTBALL-SIZED:

Long-nosed bandicoot – Perameles nasuta

LongNosedBandicoot

Southern brown bandicoot Isoodon obesulus

Long-nosed potoroo – Potorous tridactylus

LNP


LARGER POSSUMS:

Common ringtail possum – Pseudocheirus peregrinus

RingtailPoss

Common brushtail possum – Trichosurus vulpecula

CommonBrushtail

Mountain brushtail possum (or southern bobuck) – Trichosurus cunninghami

MountainBrushtail


Thankyou Kate Parkins, Matt Swan, Kaye P. and Craig Mildwaters for additional images, ID tips and reviews

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22 thoughts on “Camera-trap ID

  1. Pingback: Reference library for camera-trapping images | Working on the wild side

  2. This is really helpful. We have trouble ID’ing small mammals on grainy night camera images at our Enviro Ed Centre – this is a great resource! Thanks. Steve.

    • Thanks Steve, I hope it comes in handy. Grainy nocturnal images can definitely be a challenge. You’ve probably discovered this already, but I’ve found that setting up camera close to the lure (if you are using one) can help as the animals will be larger, and also making sure that your camera is set on the highest resolution possible. Image quality does vary between camera brands though. Best of luck – it’s great to hear that you’re using cameras as an educational tool

      • Thanks for the extra advice Bron. Our senior students that visit use the cameras – as part of their Biology field study for the NSW HSC Yr 11 course. They love it. We have a good list of species found now. I spoke to you a while ago about baits – thanks for that advice. We are having good success now using oats, honey, tuna and chocolate sauce! (PB is banned in NSW schools now due to allergies). Cheers, Steve.

  3. A great idea thanks Bron – may be helpful to many with similar animals, let’s hope others can enlarge the library too. I will be referring this site on to others. Kaye

  4. On the tips for distinguishing between the two species of brushtail possums – I have found that the Mountain Brushie (or Bobuck – a name which I don’t like using) I have here at Binginwarri in South Gippsland always have black feet as opposed to the light coloured feet of the Common Brushie. Also the face of the former is less pointed, more round than the Common. I’ve tried to see these features in the photos you’ve recently put up but not having success in these instances, that can be just the angles of these photos or animals – but probably still worth putting in as I. D. tips.

    • Thanks for the tips Kaye – I’d noticed the snout shape but not the foot colour. I’ll definitely add these to the notes.
      Out of curiosity, why don’t you like using the word bobuck? I’ve never known its derivation

  5. Dear Bron,
    This is great!

    I was wondering, do you place the bait on a pole to get better images of the animals? I was planning to use bait secured to the ground but I can imagine if they need to climb they spend more time in front of the camera. Also a little bit more detail: what is your trigger sensitivity and how many pictures do you take per second or do you take videos too?

    Cheers,
    Stefanie

    • Hi Stefanie,

      When surveying small mammals, I’ve found that putting the bait on a post really helps as you get a better view of the animal’s tail, body length and nose profile as it climbs the bait post. On the ground, these features are often obscured by little twigs etc.

      For predators, however, I’ve found that putting the lure on the ground and even burying it a little can help as the predator then has to come right to the middle of the camera view to satisfy its curiosity, rather than just looking at a bait post from afar.

      The cameras I’ve had most success with are Reconyx. I usually set the trigger sensitivity and resolution to maximum, take as many photos per second as possible (no video option) and don’t have a delay between triggers. This results in a lot of images so you need a large memory card, but can really help when trying to ID small mammals as you often need to see them in a sequence of photos. In forests, triggers from heat are not usually a problem if you face the camera southwards, but it might be different if you’re working somewhere hot and less shady like the mallee.

      Best of luck with your surveys!
      Bron

  6. Great collection of reference photos and tips Bron. I use Reconyx too and found they are great. Nice use of the tea strainers too!

    Luke

      • Hi Bron,

        I do a lot of work around the Hunter Valley of NSW. Mainly playing around with using cameras to detect bats using nest boxes. Got some pretty cool results. It does get a bit hard identifying to species level through photos. Genus is relatively easy with some bats like Nyctophilus.

        The tea strainers also come in handy for smoko!

  7. Just regarding different ingredients in baits, I have been told that using things like meat (e.g tuna) in the mix can cause salmonella and maybe kill the animals feeding on the baits. Any thoughts?

    • Interesting question Dana. I’ve never heard that about meat baits, but I’ve also never used lures where the animals can actually access the food – I’ve always enclosed the lure either in tea strainers or a PVC vent cowl. I’ve also usually used tuna oil rather than tuna itself (although I did experiment with chicken necks for a while – urgh!).

      I guess it’s possible but from what I’ve seen, foxes and cats eat some pretty decayed roadkill in the wild so I’m not sure how vulnerable they are to things like salmonella. I have heard that it is better not to use honey as it can spread bee diseases – we use golden syrup instead.

  8. Great collection of photos Bron.
    Really helped with Brown Bandicoots and Long-Nosed Bandicoots. Ive found it really hard identify when you don’t have bait stations, so this helps heaps

    Mitch

  9. Hi there,
    We have just started our monitoring program along the Great Ocean Road and through beginners luck scored a bandicoot in the first week (unbaited!). I got over excited and mistakenly ID’d it as a Southern Brown, but it turns out to be a LN. A mistake I wouldn’t have made if I had known about this site sooner. I’ll be sure to look here next time! Thanks for a really great resource.
    https://gorcc.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/elusive-fauna-captured-on-camera/

    • Thanks Pete – that’s great news about the bandicoot. I’m glad to hear the blog is coming in handy too. I’ve done most of my PhD fieldwork between Anglesea and Lorne and both species of bandicoot are around, but long-nosed are more common.
      Best of luck with your future surveys,
      Bron

  10. It turns out I have both. The one I was most confused about though was my first southern brown. I will let you know if I find any good photos of things you don’t have. I think its important to have a good database of reference photos for people.

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