If you live in a place that has wild animals, you may often wonder which animals live near you. Often, the animals around us are nocturnal so it is difficult to actually see any of them during the day, but you may find evidence of them and this keeps you curious. A scent station is something you could set up easily on your own to help you identify the wild animals that are living in your area.
WHAT IS A SCENT STATION?
A scent station is made up of flour spread in a circle type area on the ground. A “scent” is placed in the middle of the area depending on what you are trying to attract. Predators are attracted to the scent and then leave their footprints in the flour, allowing you to figure out what animals are in your area.
HOW TO BUILD A SCENT STATION?
Check the weather – a rain shower will ruin all of your hard work. Choose an area that seems to be frequented often by predators and where the grass is low. Take any type of white flour and make a circle on the ground, about ½ inch think. Using a hula hoop can ensure that you have covered a sufficient area. Place your bait (such as canned tuna fish, raw chicken, canned salmon) in the middle of the flour circle. This ensures that the animals will have to walk through the flour to get to the bait. Leave your station overnight then check the next day to see what prints are made. You can find many charts online to match prints to discover what animals are living in your area. Remember to clean up after your experiment.
WHY CREATE A SCENT STATION?
Scent stations can be used for a variety of reasons. You can use them with children to simply help them explore their environment and find out what wild animals may be living near them. If doing this, be sure to set up your station in a remote location and not close to where they play often. You don’t want wild animals surprising them when they are simply playing in the yard.
Landowners can use scent stations in order to find out what predators may be living on their land. This is especially helpful if they have livestock and want to ensure the safety of the animals. They can also estimate the population of animals in their area.
Teachers can use scent stations in order to cover requirements about adaptations, ecosystems, and animal habits.