Sunday, 24 June 2007

How to make a mink raft









These are dead easy if you have a kit like Forsham Cottage Arks supply (see link on right). Basically it's a floating open-ended box containing a plastic basket. In the basket you put sodden oasis with a smooth layer of sand and clay over the top. The oasis stops the clay from drying out and keeps it soft.

I've built my raft so I can test for the presence of water voles. The idea is you tether the raft somewhere you suspect there might be voles, leave it a few days, and then check the clay for footprints. When Malcolm Monie tried this out he got water vole droppings as well as prints (see above).

4 comments:

Dave said...

Absolutely wonderful! It would do Jack Sparrow proud. I’m afraid I gave up on mine because the wood I’d managed to salvage was much too heavy for the job, I’ll keep an eye out for something lighter though.

When and where is she due to have her maiden voyage?

Kate said...

Not sure. As you pointed out, lifting the beast is going to be a two-man job - it's 4 feet long. Plus if I want to tether it on private land, I'll obviously have to have permission. Whitchurch Water Vole Group has one currently in situ at Blakemere, though the one shown in my post was moored briefly at Whitwater Fisheries.

I have some ideas, but I'll have to investigate feasibilty first...

Dave said...

I think it's got to be private land, if you can; to avoid over-eager youngsters investigating!

Kate said...

Well, yes, there is that! But there are a lot of places round here that are 'public' but hard to access unless you're really determined. I can think of several spots where a raft could sit a few days without anyone seeing it.