The Efficacy of Mammal Urine as a Lure in Camera Trapping Studies

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As part of a vertebrate biodiversity survey initiated at Georgia Southern University to obtain data for future sustainable development and management of the campus, we used camera trapping in combination with mammal urine to detect medium and large mammals. Mammal urine is advertised to gardeners as an herbivore deterrent and to hunters as an attractant. Camera trapping is widely accepted as an accurate, minimally invasive method for surveying mammals, and traps are frequently paired with bait or scent lures to increase detections, often of a target species, but the efficacy of specific lures is uncertain. We assigned four cameras to Georgia Southern’s campus and four cameras to a rural area off-campus. We placed mammal urine of three different species, and water as a control (random, sequentially) at each camera trapping station and analyzed the relationship between presence of urine and mammal detections. The presence or absence of urine did not affect the number or species of mammals detected with camera traps, nor did prey species avoid camera traps with predator urine (i.e, the average number of “captures” for Odocoileus virginianus at predator, prey and water was 3.18(±0.78), 1.37(±1.1), and 1.87(±1.1), respectively). Some animals (e.g., Urocyon cinereoargenteus) were curious about the urine as they were photographed sniffing the container. Based on the results of this study, mammal urine is ineffective as a lure for camera-trapping studies.


American Society of Mammalogists Annual Meeting (ASM)


Minneapolis, MN