How to spotlight count for rabbits on your site


– So in this section
we are going to talk about how to do a spotlight count. You can do a spotlight count either a walk transect or from a vehicle. So in terms of a walk transect, you would do that where you can’t drive. So it can be done just about anywhere using a handheld torch is the easiest way and what you want to do with that is sweep from side to
side wherever you can and count as many rabbits as you can see. The same principle applies
to doing a spotlight count from a vehicle, whether
you do it from the back of the vehicle or from
the cabin of the vehicle, you want to be able to
sweep, if you are on the back from side to side and then if
you are sitting in the seat obviously you just want
to sweep out the window and count as many rabbits as you can see. You need to make sure that
when you walk the transect or drive the transect, you
are doing the same transect three nights in a row
and it’s the same person doing the count every night, that means that there is some consistency in counting rabbits and
identifying rabbits. Make sure that you travel at
a slow and consistent speed, preferably not faster then
15 kilometres per hour, the ideal is somewhere between 10 and 12. If you are going to do a driven transect, then your transect needs to be
at least one kilometre long, preferably longer, but
the minimum requirement is one kilometres in length. And it should try and cover
at least 25% of the area that you are surveying. The best time to undertake
a spotlight count, whether walked or by vehicle is approximately half
an hour after sunset, that’s the time when
rabbits are most active. The later you wait, the
more likely the rabbits are to go back into their warren. They have times when
they come in and come out so you want to make sure
that you are counting your rabbits when they
are at their most active. So undertaking a walk
transect, you need to sweep the torch from side to side
counting the number of rabbits that you see and make sure
that as you sweep the torch, you also move your head
in line with the beam, so that you can actually see the rabbits particularly when they look back at you and you will see red eye
shine from the rabbit. You won’t see the eye shine
if you are not looking in the direction of the beam of the torch. When you finished your count,
you then submit your data through the RabbitScan App
or on the website using the report sighting function. Upload each of the counts
from each of your three nights into the app and then submit that data.

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