Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

School or Department

Forestry and Conservation


Wildlife Biology

Faculty Mentor Department

Wildlife Biology

Faculty Mentor

Mark Hebblewhite


Northern Bog Lemming, camera trapping, small mammals, Western Montana

Subject Categories

Other Animal Sciences


Fens and bogs are unique wetlands that support a diversity of small mammals and many other rare species. One such species is the Northern Bog Lemming (Synaptomys borealis). This species is being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act, so determining their presence is helpful for management. Northern bog lemmings are difficult to trap and when they are caught, experience high mortality rates. Since they are hard to capture and study, it is difficult to determine presence/absence of this species for management purposes. This study used a non-invasive, trail camera method for detecting northern bog lemmings in Finley Fen and Meadow Creek in western Montana. Most small mammal studies use muskrat lure to attract animals to traps, but it is not always readily available and is expensive. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a lure that attracts northern bog lemmings more often than muskrat lure. Under each remote camera we placed small, square 6 by 6-inch pieces of plywood with a metric ruler on the sides of the board as a size reference for small mammals. We tested 6 different types of lure/scent (including muskrat) to see if other lures have better detection rates. The 6 lures were; muskrat lure as the control, almond extract, vanilla extract, strawberry extract, clove oil, and lemongrass oil. Cameras were deployed with lure treatments for three weeks in each site, with lure replenished every week, and treatments were rotated after two weeks between different camera points to reduce the probability of camera bias with a certain lure. Overall, I tested the hypothesis that there is another lure, besides muskrat, that results in higher detection rates of northern bog lemmings. There was a total of 528 camera trap nights with 437 detections of small mammals over all trap nights. Results suggest that the muskrat lure still produced more photos of small mammals over the study period, followed closely in Finley fen by almond extract and strawberry extract. Northern bog lemmings were confirmed in seven different pictures in Finley Fen, five of which were on almond extract boards. Bog lemmings weren’t detected in Meadow creek, although one specimen was captured in a snap trap in 1992. The small detection rate for northern bog lemmings indicated that a larger sample size may be needed, or other lure types tested to definitively detect northern bog lemmings in a survey.

Honors College Research Project


GLI Capstone Project




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