Attractant: cages

owlsPlacing cages in a cleared patch near a track will make the build-up and service easier for ‘staff’ however as foxes tend to use paths and avoid undergrowth it might increase the risk of predation. We try to strike a balance between those 2 objectives and so far we never had any sightings of a fox next to a release cage.

We had to remove a cage quickly though because 3 barn owls – most likely a female with offspring - had moved in.  The cage seemed to offer shelter, water and - if ringtails had used it at the same time – a smorgasbord.

Cage roofs seem popular ‘meeting venues’ for ringtails and brushtails alike even if there is no water station near-by.  Cages also attract phascogale and rats and both species clearly enter the cages for whatever might be in there for them.

rat and phascogale

We also had the questionable pleasure of watching a raptor leisurely eat a skink from 05:16 to 07:06 am. The roof probably offered a flat, comfortable ‘ table’ for the meal.


The positioning of the cage, the roof opening and the connectivity to trees is important.  The exiting gap in the roof needs to be narrow enough to not allow a larger animal (such as a cat) in, but not so narrow that quick escape is impeded. 

dogs and cat

Walkways into trees should always lead upwards, never down, as ringtails tend to use the quickest, easiest way even if it goes over the ground. They are creatures of habit and footage shows them always exiting and entering in the same spot.

cow at cagecat at guneapig cage

All types of cages attract predators such as cats and dogs and therefore should be monitored –even if unrelated to the release of ringtails such as this guinea pig cage.

It is questionable what attracted the cows to our cage though.


In wet, stormy weather ringtails tend to avoid the cages after having left them for good.
They would without doubt provide safe shelter and a potential source of food but sightings during inclement weather periods are considerably fewer. This can however also be based on malfunction of cameras in bad weather.

attractant camera