We have continued the rat detection experiments recently described on this blog and have updated results to report.
The experimental design used here is the same as previously described. One Cacophony Project thermal camera and two conventional trail cameras were used. The first trial camera was positioned close to a rat trap (1.5m), with the other set further back and next to the thermal camera (4.5m). Over the course of one week, detections on each camera were recorded to measure their sensitivity to rats. Both the trail cameras were configured to record videos rather than photos.
It is worth noting that although there were 50 rat detections, none were caught in the trap over the week.
The table below list the detections for each of the cameras.
|Date||Time||Predator||Thermal camera||Close trail camera||Far trail camera||Caught?|
The total length of video captured by each of the cameras is shown in the table below, along with a comparison between the two device types.
|Detections close camera||50||4||13|
|Detections far camera||50||1||50|
|Video length close camera (seconds)||3074||28||110|
|Video length far camera (seconds)||3074||10||307|
These results of this experiment are similar to previously obtained results and confirms that the Cacophony Project thermal camera is dramatically more sensitive than trail cameras for recording rat behaviour.
While the thermal camera is 10-50 times more sensitive at detecting rats, the length of rat interaction videos captured shows an even greater difference. Trial cameras have a delay in starting and record for a set time whereas the motion detection approach used by the Cacophony Project thermal camera means each interaction is fully captured. This makes the Cacophony Project thermal camera significantly better for understanding animal behaviour.
The video below shows all of the trail camera footage captured for the week and a sample of one of the 50 visits captured by the thermal camera. The thermal camera footage has been sped up 10 times to give an idea of what the rat is really doing during the entire visit.
For anyone interested in improving rat trapping rates, the Cacophony Project thermal camera can provide a much better understanding of how rats actually interact with traps and lures.
The video above also demonstrates that the current version of the Cacophony Project Artificial Intelligence classifier is doing a reasonable job of correctly identifying the predator type. We are actively working towards linking the camera and classifier to elimination devices with the goal of dramatically improving catch rates.