Bite Back

16 December 2019

chewcard multi species by LandcareResx650

We have recently added some more content to our Bite Marks section. Bite marks reflect the arrangement, shape and size of an animal's jaws and teeth. They can therefore be used to identify the presence of some pest animals.

The new photographs of Chewcard and WaxTag® sign, kindly shared by Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research, supplement the photographs of skulls and teeth that we already had.

Chewcards or WaxTags® are used for population monitoring of some species. The cards or tags are baited to attract animals to bite into the card or tag, leaving characteristic impressions.

The examples now on Pest Detective are simply a starting point as they illustrate only the most typical and easy-to-recognise bite marks.

Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research provides more comprehensive guidance on interpreting bite marks, including examples of less easily recognised bite marks and of multispecies sign on a single card or tag. > see Chewcards for detecting animal pests

Peter Sweetapple, Widlife Ecologist at Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research, says the chewcard guide was updated in partnership with the Department of Conservation in 2018/2019. A WaxTag® bite identification guide is to follow.

Chewcards and WaxTags® have been developed to provide a comparatively reliable means of recognising pest animal bite marks. Out in the field, you might come across other sign which also reflects the way a given species eats or bites. These types of sign are often less easy to identify but can include vegetation damage, bark damage and kill sign - all featured in other sections of Pest Detective > see Vegetation Damage and Kill Sign.

Photograph: Mouse, possum and rat bite marks on a single chewcard. Courtesy and © Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research