Rodent Sticky Trap Snags a Rat and a Lizard


I have heard of the use of sticky traps for studying lizards, though a colleague told me they seem to be of uncertain safety for anoles, as his recapture records were almost nonexistent.

We finally gave up on the “bio-warfare” of feline-infantry to a recent rodent invader to the house, and had to put this trap out last night inside the house. This morning we found the intruder caught in it (juvenile Rattus sp.), but the domestic service lady put it for a minute in the backyard and not long after an Anolis distichus was also caught, probably in the seek of flies stuck to the trap (see photos). She then called me and I used an old trick, pouring (vegetable) oil in the prey in order to make it come loose from the trap’s glue surface.IMG_1444

Could the oil create a thermic or clinging capability problem to the lizard? It obviously forms a coating above scales, hence I rubbed it with napkins and then placed it back to its favorite microhabitat (trunk bark) for it to bask and recover.

The lizard (38 mm SVL) was toe-clipped and marked in the belly and put back in the backyard. Hopefully we can have a recapture in some days (if cats and sparrows don’t get it first).

7 thoughts on “Rodent Sticky Trap Snags a Rat and a Lizard

  1. Bani, Dominican Republic. It is an Anolis distichus, one of the most common and widespread (naturally) Greater Antillean anoles.

    1. Thanks Miguel for taking this time to rescue this bark anole and share the story. Please do let us know if you see it again. I feel obliged to make one small addition to your characterization of Anolis distichus — it is one of the most common, widespread, and interesting Greater Antillean anoles — but I might be a little biased.

      1. Good point Anthony, I was the one biased because I have them all over my backyard, but you are right, interestingly besides marked geographic variation within Hispaniola, they are also found in the Bahamas with their own local forms.

        While I was taking some minutes to clean the anole from the oil, two other came in close, and they also were females. I wonder if females tend to forage more on the ground (opportunistically), or just because they seem to be more abundant than males.

  2. I have no quantitative data on A. distichus, but in a study of closely related A. brevirostris in altered habitat in Barahona, only 2 of 173 observations were of lizards on the ground. Males did perch higher than females, so I’m guessing that the latter are more likely to forage on the ground. We did include an anecdotal comment in that note that indicated that A. distichus forages on the ground more frequently than what we were observing in that population of A. brevirostris, but only in habitats where ground-dwelling Ameiva and Leiocephalus are less commonly encountered (or absent). Since then, but not on Hispaniola, the effects of ground-dwelling predators has been clearly shown to affect the amount of time anoles spend on the ground. The citation for the A. brevirostris study is:

    Moster, J.A., R. Powell, J.S. Parmerlee, Jr., D.D. Smith, and A. Lathrop. 1992. Natural history notes on a small population of Anolis brevirostris (Sauria: Polychridae) from altered habitat in the Dominican Republic. Bulletin of the Maryland Herpetological Society 28: 150–161.

    1. Thanks for the input and the reference on the topic Bob.

      In this regard, I saw relative A. altavelensis also foraging near the ground and in large rocks, but having in mind that a good portion within the Alto Velo island have no trees (grass and scattered scrub mostly) they should be just happy with that and it must be the usual substrate for them. Though not the same experience with other relative species, as Anolis caudalis also in an island setting (Gonave) in a semi-anthropic landscape. They were always in Acacia trees (not much other stuff left there anyway).

  3. After this post I dug up some references on using glue traps to capture lizards. Here are a few that might come in handy to AA readers.

    Bauer, A.M. and R.A. Sadlier. 1992. The use of mouse glue traps to capture lizards. Herpetological Review, 23:112-113.

    Glor, R.E., T.M. Townsend, M.F. Benard, and A.S. Flecker. 2000. Sampling reptile diversity in the West Indies with mouse gluetraps. Herpetological Review, 31:88-90.

    Ribeiro-Júnior, M. A., Gardner, T. A., & Ávila-Pires, T. C. 2006. The effectiveness of glue traps to sample lizards in a tropical rainforest. South American Journal of Herpetology, 1:131-137.

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