I received an email back from Biotrack (which is now a part of Lotek Wireless), a company that produces radio collars and other tracking devices. Probably not what I need anyway– I’m not tracking in a huge territory, nor do I need to ruggedize so thoroughly. Plus they’re prohibitively expensive, unless I can borrow a receiver that can listen to the device… No GPS sized for rats! But Lotek does have these amazing pit tag data logging GPS devices for fish and birds that, at first glance, seem pretty amazing. Datasheets for several different kinds are downloadable here: LotekGPS and here: lat-tdr.
My name is Arturo Vidich and I am a graduate student at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. I am tracking wild rats in New York City to find out more about their secret social lives when they’re out and about, as well as in the burrow. This project will be funded (hopefully) by iLand arts residency and NYU. Below are some questions and general interests in your products:
-Rats can sometimes get out of collars and chew through harnesses, so I am looking into biodegradable/ingestible glue solutions to affix the tracking devices. That way I don’t have to catch the same rat twice– the device will fall off on its own, and on the off chance the device is found it can be returned. Another option I’m looking into is a harness or collar that has a biodegradable clasp that will cause it to fall off within 7-14 days. Do you offer something like that?
-Given the short nature of the study period, a stronger signal with a shorter battery life would seem to make sense. The area I’m going to cover (pending rat range assessments) will probably not be very large, but I’m concerned about on-board data storage when the rats go into enclosed areas– I want to be sure that as much in-burrow activity as possible will be stored for logging later when the rat emerges– is that possible with your line of devices?
-One aspect of this project that I am considering is affixing a video recording device to get visual contact once the rat is out of sight. Does your company make any device, or have an interface on existing devices that could pair with something I build myself?
Lastly, if possible, could I have some quotes for this species, with the various options you offer?
Thank you for your enquiry and your interest in our products.
Biotrack specialise in VHF radio-tracking equipment for wildlife. I am afraid that none of our transmitters currently store data on board. The VHF transmitters emit a signal that can be detected with a receiver and antenna to locate each individual animal when you want to.
However, we do have receivers that can be set-up and left to detect presence or absence of the individuals in certain areas, the SRX-DL. I have attached the datasheet for this receiver for more information.
Previously for Rats we have supplied our transmitters on Brass or cable-tie collars. The brass makes the collars much more difficult to chew through. We can also supply transmitters that can be glued to the fur and these transmitters will fall off over time. The time that they will take to fall off is variable, especially if the rats will attempt to prise the tag off themselves. I have attached the datasheet for our small mammal collars for more information.
We do not make any collars with biodegradable clasps or similar break-away options but would be happy to make the collars so that you can add in your own break-away section.
We can also make these transmitters with activity sensors which change the speed of the VHF signal when the animal is moving and this signal rate can be logged by the DataSika.
Do you think that our transmitters and receivers could be suitable for your study?
Glue-on backpack transmitters start from 165 US Dollars and collars from 195 US Dollars. All prices exclude taxes, duty and shipping.
Our manual tracking receiver, the Sika or Biotracker, starts from 2,780 US Dollars, and with this you will need an antenna at 370 US Dollars. The SRX-DL (model B) for tracking our beeper transmitters is 2,995 US Dollars.
If you are looking for tags that continuously store location (and activity) data, you will need a GPS collar/backpack. However, these will not work underground as they will not be able to communicate with the satellites. We do not currently have any GPS collars small enough for Rats.
Please feel free to ask any questions and I look forward to hearing more about your study.
Technical Sales Advisor
Biotrack Ltd, 52 Furzebrook Road, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5AX
Tel: +44 (0)1929 552992, Fax +44 (0)1929 554948
Biotrack is now part of Lotek Wireless.
Together we offer a greatly expanded range of telemetry equipment and expertise.