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Participant Age: 
Under 7, 7 to 12
Approximate Cost: 
Over an hour
Date submitted: 
Physical Challenge: 
Dig a Pitfall Trap
Build a simple trap to learn about small creatures in your yard.
  • Compostable materials, such as fruit or vegetable peelings (optional)
  • Plastic container with steep sides, such as a yogurt container
  • Nature field guides (optional)
  • 1 large rock or a few smaller ones
  • Trowel or small shovel
  • Flat piece of wood, larger than the top of your container
Step 1
Choose a location for your trap
It needs to be in soft enough soil that you can dig down easily, and not in a place where people tend to walk. Ask an adult if it is okay to dig a hole there.
Step 2
Dig a hole and put the container in it
The top of the container should be level with the ground. Fill any gaps around the edges with soil.
Step 3
Put some soil at the bottom
You can also add some vegetable and fruit scraps from your compost bin to attract wildlife.
Step 4
Put the cover on the trap
Place four small stones around the trap and set the wood on them. Make sure there is a gap of an inch or so. Then put a heavy rock or a few smaller rocks on top of the wood.This makes a cover to keep out rain and predators.
Step 5
Leave the trap out overnight
In the morning, check to see if any creatures have fallen in. Look carefully—they might be hiding in the soil at the bottom.
Step 6
Release anything that falls in each morning
Be sure to check the traps every day. Use nature guides to identify any creatures. Be sure to set the creatures free.
Step 7

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