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#DispatchesDNLee: Retrieving and Restraining Rats

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Even when I was still in Oklahoma I was worried about how I would safely restrain the rats. – for them and for me.   After an unsuccessful trial of Decapicone sleeves in the lab, I knew that disposable anything was not going to cut it with Cricetomys. But I do like the design of those bags, so I set out to make something that would meet my needs.

One of the grad students in my lab suggested I look into a Tamarack Holding Cone and I did. It looked like an awesome device.  The maker of the device was super kind and we exchanged emails and talked over the phone.  I wanted to make a cloth version of a decapicone, so after scouting out the appropriate material – 1000 Cordura Nylon – and meeting with a textile Professor at Oklahoma State University, I had a pattern and material at hand read to make my restraining and retrieval bags for the rats.

Thanks to Dr. Ruppert Strorescou for helping design the pattern and PhD candidate R. Eike, for doing all of the hard work, sewing the bags.  Both are apart of the Design, Housing, and Merchandising Department – College of Human Science of Oklahoma State University.

Rat retrieval bag on the outside of trap. Bag fits snugly on the outside of the trap. The door is open and the rat walks into the bag.

And they worked like a charm. Strong and resilient. I can use them to safely get the rats out of the trap, weigh them and handle them in the wild. I imagine the same will be true for the lab.

Once the rat is in the bag, it is closed off with draw string and tied around the mouth. I can then weigh them safely.

Dada DNLee

DNLee About the Author: DNLee is a biologist and she studies animal behavior, mammalogy, and ecology . She uses social media, informal experiential science experiences, and draws from hip hop culture to share science with general audiences, particularly under-served groups. Follow on Twitter @DNLee5.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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