08 May 2011

The Tuna Can

After a long drought in Small-Spotted Genet photographs I've been running into them everywhere here at Tygerberg.

Small-Spotted Genet (Kleinkolmuskeljaatkat - Genetta genetta) pawing into the scene

I'm getting desperate for new species, especially the much desired Cape Fox, so I'm thinking of using some lures/baits/scents. I got the idea from the Camera Trap Codger and also read a research paper that showed that fish is a good general attractant. I don't know how to get my hands on some of the more fancy stuff they use, but I'll make do with tuna instead.

Caracal (Rooikat - Caracal caracal) taking a sniff

Using attractants don't turn an area devoid of animals into a zoo, but it does help. If the animal passes by close enough they will often stop to investigate the source of the odour. The animals end up staying longer. Using lures often result in some good images, because the animal doesn't just pass through, but stops for a while. However, it seems as if they get used to the smell after a while and interest tend to drop off.

Sniffing the tuna

They often return to the same spot and take another sniff, and even if they lose interest they might still pass through the area without stopping for a sniff.

Smelling something fishy...

It is difficult to be sure, but from comparing the spots on the genets' neck it might indicate that more than one individuals were photographed at this location.

A Small Grey Mongoose also came for a sniff. I should have moved the can or trimmed the grass a bit more to show the animals' faces more clearly.

A Small Grey Mongoose (Kleingrysmuishond - Galerella pulverulenta) came by to smell what all the fuss is about

One side effect of using lures is that the data collected from such visits does not reflect the animal's natural movement/behaviour as well as non-baited camera sets do. I have no preference/dislike for baiting, but when those foxes haunt my dreams, I'm willing to sleep with the fishes.


  1. Man....I can't believe how amazing those Genets are! Seeing that color shot was really fantastic!

    Nice work....

  2. I'm fascinated by your wildlife captures..amazing.

  3. What great photos! I saw my first genets in Uganda about a month ago.

  4. Hi! Love your photos! I'm headed to Mara North in September and would like to set up a remote camera trap but have no idea how to do so. Is there a website that would tell me how? I have a Canon EOS XSI 450D that I plan to use (it has an infrared sensor in the grip if that needs to be utilized). Is there a kit I can buy online? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

    Keon Robertson

  5. That first picture is a super portrait. That flared tail is quite a banner. BTW fish emulsion fertilizer works very well as a general mammal attractant, and its a lot cheaper that the commercial fish oils. You'll find that SE Asian fish sauce works like a charm too

  6. @Trailblazer + John:
    Yes, both the Large and Small Spotted Gentes are very pretty little things

    @Animals Matter:
    I use mostly comercial cameras (Bushnell, Cuddeback, etc.). I also have one Sony S600 connected to a Yeticam kit. I have no experience with Canon cameras, sorry.

    Thanks. I was also impressed, but onfortuanately the batteries died. Should have replaced then... Thanks for the fishy tips.

  7. Just happen to have a bottle of that fish emulsion, goodbye African Violets. LOL.

    No luck with Cape foxes either, but here is a bat-eared fox:

    By day

    At night