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iTwixie's Tuco-Tuco STEM Study: Capturing Wild Tuco-Tucos!
December 16, 2010

Catching tuco-tucos is not easy. Many researchers catch animals using traps. But tuco-tucos will just fill up the trap with dirt and plug up that hole. That’s why we must catch the tuco-tucos with a noose.

In order to find which holes the tuco-tucos are using, we mark their holes with flags and then put a stick over the hole (check out the picture!).

tuco-tuco_burrow flagged for STEM study on iTwixie
Photo Credit: Julie Woodruff

We wait for awhile and then check to see if the sticks have moved. If the stick moves, we can tell that a tuco-tuco has come out of that burrow. We will check back for an hour or so. Each time we see that a stick has moved, we place a flag there. Once we place 3 or more flags near a burrow, we know it’s good time to try to catch tuco-tucos.

tuco_pup_with_poop for STEM study on iTwixie
Photo Credit: Julie Woodruff

We place the tuco-tucos in a canvas bag to weigh each one. While it is in the bag, it usually poops a lot! This is good for me because I study stress hormones. These stress hormones are in poop. So can extract, which means “to remove,” the stress hormones from the fecal pellets, or poop, that the tuco-tucos leave in the bag.

By collecting and studying these stress hormones, I hope to determine if females living alone are more stressed than females living in colonies, or groups. I will write more about that later.


How kewl is this, iTwixie girls? Do you have questions for Julie? Jot ‘em down right here!

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