1. What are they used for?
To identify what type of predators are roaming around your backyard or in the bush. Tracking cards and tunnels are specifically designed for tracking small mammals such as mice, rats and stoats. They can be used before and after predator control occurs to show the effectiveness of your predator control.
2. How do they work?
They work by encouraging predators into a tunnel using a lure on the ink free section of a tracking card. Predators walk through the sticky ink on the tracking card to reach the lure and leave high definition foot (and sometimes body) prints on the absorbent section of the card.
Prints on this section of the card do not smudge so you can compare to the reference print sheet provided to identify what type of predator has been in your tunnel.
3. What are the tunnels made of?
It depends on the model you purchase.
One tunnel available is a light, durable stand-alone corflute design. It’s made from robust 3mm corflute plastic and come in flat sheets that need to be folded along crease lines to form the tunnel. Instructions are provided and they’re pretty easy to set up. The standard size is 500mm length and 100mm wide. Larger sizes are available as are other models made from different materials. Check out where to purchase tunnels.
4. Does the tracking card come with ink already on it?
Most pest control suppliers stock pre-inked tracking cards.
Alternatively you can purchase plain tracking cards and ink separately and make up yourself. Compare efficiency and price before deciding which option is best for you. Replacement tracking cards are sold separately.
5. What sort of lure (bait) should I use?
Peanut butter is the standard lure used to attract rats and mice. The lure for ferrets, stoats and hedgehogs is raw red meat or uncooked eggs.
6. How do I know where I should place them?
Predators will use regular pathways in the grass, along fence lines, down the side of the house, near compost and waterways. To be most effective place at intervals of no more than 50 meters apart. If you don’t have multiple tunnels be selective where you place your tunnel.
7. How long do I leave them out?
As a general rule the manufacturer suggests 1 night. If you don’t get a result, try moving to a different position and leave out for another night.
8. How do I read prints from tracking tunnels?
When you purchase your tracking card and tunnel it should come with a reference print sheet that shows the foot and body prints left by targeted species. Compare the prints from your tracking card with those on the reference sheet to identify what predator has been in your tunnel. Be aware that you may have multiple predators roaming around your backyard.
9. Now what do I do?
Buy a trap and get trapping!
Now that you know the type of predator you’ve got, do some research to find the trap that best suits your budget and capability. Some people are very comfortable handling predators and others are not. For that very reason there is a variety of different trap options available on the market today.
When placing rat traps in urban backyards ensure your trap is placed in a tunnel to protect children and pets/native birds from harm.
10. Where can I buy a tracking tunnel and pre-inked tracking cards from?
There are many retailers and pest control companies who sell predator control equipment. Check out our list here.
11. How much do they cost?
As with all retail products they range in price, tracking cards and tunnels are inexpensive but it’s always good to shop around. The cost will depend on the model and option (pre-inked or not) you choose.
12. Should I use these instead of chew cards?
Chew cards and tracking cards and tunnels have a common purpose, to identify what type of predator(s) you have and therefore what you will need to start trapping. Tracking cards & tunnels are specifically designed for tracking small mammals such as mice, rats and stoats. So if you think your problem is with possums, go with chew cards. The tracking card and tunnel is also useful once your trapping programme is completed. By replacing the tracking card and setting again you can detect the presence of lizards, weta and other insects to confirm predators have been removed.