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Ruud Kleinpaste: Set your traps

Ruud Kleinpaste,
Publish Date
Sat, 18 May 2024, 11:37am
Photo / 123RF
Photo / 123RF

Ruud Kleinpaste: Set your traps

Ruud Kleinpaste,
Publish Date
Sat, 18 May 2024, 11:37am

Ever since moving to Christchurch I have been trapping pests: stoats and possums, rats and mice. Think Predator-Free New Zealand! 

Mice are quite common here on the Port Hills; rather rural with heaps of herbage, seeds, and grasses, plus good seed crops in the gardens. 

Mice are an important food source for rats and stoats. They also eat heaps of Native New Zealand Invertebrates (caterpillars, beetles, weevils). 

In summer the mice have a great time, breeding like mice. 

In autumn the wusses get a bit cold and look for shelter in people’s homes and ceilings as well garages. 

I have about 10 mouse traps employed and they’re going off regularly. Big populations at the moment, be warned! 

A few weeks ago, I attended a lecture by Pete McClelland, one of New Zealand’s unsung heroes when it comes to pest eradication. Pete has been managing huge projects on Subantarctic Islands and Tropical islands for many years. 

Fascinating stuff and very much one of the inspirational tools to create a Predator-Free Aotearoa. 

Of course, he was always dealing with the famous exotic pests that somehow gained entrance to an ecosystem that never had those pests before. From Donkeys to Deer and from Ferrets to Rodents, Feral Cats to Foxes and Rats to Mice. 

Mice are often seen as the small (almost cute) creature that is probably the least impactful pest on the world list. 

Many people would be surprised to learn that these ubiquitous mice (Mus musculus) are a complete pain on many isolated islands in Hawaii (Midway atoll), Gough Island (in the south Atlantic), Marion Island (in the Southern part of the Indian Ocean), to name just a few important Nature reserves with Albatrosses and other ornithological gems. 

The mice on these islands have climbed up the ladder of the ecosystem so cleverly that they can attack huge albatrosses at night (while they are incubating their eggs). They do this by chewing open the tops of the birds’ heads, eating the brains and simply keep on extending the damage, which ultimately becomes fatal for those birds. 

Should you wish to see the horrific pictures of these massacres, caused by, simply google the names of these islands and the words “mice” 

Summing up: 

Not uncommon on islands, those adaptable mice, causing ecological damage, and oh yes, New Zealand is an island too, remember! 


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