Hello, I'm Ms. Davis. Join me as I travel to Nova Scotia to study mammals!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Vole and I

Today we caught some mammals! Two mice and four voles (small rodents).
In my transect, I caught the only female mouse of the day! It is a deer mouse. In this video, I am helping to determine the gender and the weight of a vole. It was a female. We then took them back to the site where we caught the mammals and released them so they could find their way back home. We put the mice and voles into mazes when releasing them to determine how smart they are. How would we determine whether they are smart though a maze? Would they go fast or slow? Do you think the mice and voles are smart this time of year? Why? Why does Dr. Christina Bueshing cut the fur of the vole we are about to release?


  1. I think Dr. Christina Bueshing cut some fur off the vole to remember they caught that vole.

  2. Hi Ms. Davis!
    I think a maze helps determine a mice's smarts because it takes thinking to travel through the maze and figure out were you are going. A smart mouse would find the end most likely. I think mice would go slow because they probably aren't used to going through a maze. I think mice and voles have to be smart to survive in the wild life from predators, so yes. I am not quite sure why she cut off some of the hair, but my guess is that it has something to do with the testing they are doing.
    -Natalie, 6th Grade

  3. HI Ms. Davis!
    nice job on catching the first female mouse of the day! To determine how smart they are you could see if they got out of the maze fast or slow. You could also see how badly they want to get out of the maze. I think it depends on how smart they are to see if they go fast or slow, if they are really smart they will be able to get through the maze fast! If they aren't smart it might take them longer to get through the whole maze. I think the rodents are smarter this time of year because it was just winter where they stayed in shelter and got prepared for spring. I think the reason she cuts of its fur is because she doesn't want it to catch any chemicals that might be on peoples hands and on the bags and stuff.
    Lily! Smith!

  4. Hey, Ms. Davis!
    I think you determine how smart the mice are by timing them from the beginning of the maze, to the end, to determine how long it took for them to go through the maze. Also, I think you could hide video cameras so you can observe the mouse during it's way through the maze.
    I think most mice would go pretty fast through the maze, but I guess it depends on that particular mouse.
    I think the mice are smart during this time, because all of the predators would be waking up from hibernation, and would be searching for food.
    Lastly, I think Dr. Christina Bueshing cut the fur from the vole, to "mark" it. So when they come back, they can see that particular mouse was the one the caught.
    Congratulations on catching the female mouse!!
    Miss you!
    Nicki A. 6th Grade G block

  5. Hi Ms. Davis!!!!
    I think that putting the mice and voles though a maze helps determine how smart they are because if they are smart and want to get to the end they will figure out that they must choose paths that don't immediately come to a dead end. I think it would depend on the mice or vole if they went quickly or slowly, it also depends on how much they want to move on. I think the mice are probably smart at this time of year because predators probably eat the weak and stupid mice and voles. I think the reason she cut of some of its fur was to test the something about the vole, and/or to mark the vole (Mark and Recapture).


  6. Hey Dave!

    I think the maze helps to determine how smart the mice are in the maze depending on how fast they go, but it also helps you figure out how smart they probably are in the wild because having a sense of direction in the wilderness is important. I think the mice would go slow in the maze because it is a new environment and they will probably explore it a little bit before making their way out. I think mice are smart at this time of year because, like Nicki said, they have more predators as spring comes around. They need to be smart in order to avoid being eaten. I am not sure why Dr. Christina Bueshing cut the vole's fur, but I think it has something to do with tagging and recapturing; keeping track of which animals you have already caught before.
    Looks like you are having a lot of fun!
    We all miss you a lot!!

    Charlotte Q. 6th Grade D block

  7. Hola Señorita Davis,

    I agree with what other people said; I think you find the intelligence of a mouse by seeing how quickly it can go through the maze. An intelligent mouse would try to go in different directions when one didn't work, but a less intelligent one might keep on trying to push through the wall or give up. A smart mouse would go quickly because it would keep on trying different pathways and maybe be able to smell its way out. An unintelligent one might go very slowly or not even make it out. I think the mice are not very smart right now because winter just ended a short while ago and they are still starting to wake up from hibernation (like people early in the morning). Maybe she cut the fur to see if the vole was healthy. Maybe unhealthy voles have dirty, matted fur or something. Also, maybe she did it to test the DNA later!! Then you could see which voles are related.

    Science 6-C

  8. I think that the smart mice can find there way through the maze easily and the dumb ones will get stuck. I think the she cut off some hair off the vole to remember that they caught it or to tag it in some way.i think mice and voles are smart this time of year because they need to find there way through the woods to run away from predators. Also the mice and voles who don't make it through the maze will probably be eaten by predators soon after they are released because they aren't very good at navigating and hiding from their predators.

  9. Hello!!!!!
    Congrats on catching the first female mouse!! I think you can determine how smart the rodent is that way because you can see whether she or he can get through the maze within a certain amount of time. That will test its smartness! I think it depends how smart the mouse is if you want to figure out how fast or slow it can get through. If it's stupid, well then it will probably take a long time to get through, if the other then it would be the other thing. I agree with people that said this is that they are probably smart around this time of year because predator are out there! Mark and recapture is why she cut of the fur.
    See Ya!
    From Ella!

  10. Hey Ms. Davis!

    I think the maze helps determine how smart the mice are. I think you can tell if a mouse or vole is smart through a maze because the forest is like a maze so it shows you if they know what they are doing in the wild when hunting, and running from predators. If the mouse goes fast he is smart because he obviously knows where he is going and has a sense in direction. I think mice ARE smart this time of year because in the winter most of there predators are in hibernation or somewhere warmer so they are coming back out now so they need to be more careful. I think they cut the fur so if they see the mouse or vole again then they know that it has survived at least a year.


  11. Hi Ms. Davis!

    When we did our bean -- "capture, mark, and recapture" I noticed a couple of beans I marked were cut in half, or had unique qualities about them. I noticed it was easier to tell whether or not I had "recaptured" several beans because they were broken in half. This made me wonder if in the wild, when you mark and recapture live animals, sometimes do some have different or unique qualities (like a missing toe or something) that help you identify them as marked already?