discussion / Biologging  / 23 April 2021

RFID Smart traps


I am trying to find information on 'smart traps.'

I am planning to transponder urban rats with RFID tags. To estimate population size using mark-recapture methods, I would ideally like to place 'smart traps' that will record if an individual has an RFID and release the individual if it does. Ideally, it would also have the ability to release any animals that are not within a certain mass range to avoid bycatch.

I came across information from Sarah Knowles' group but wanted to see if there are any alternatives available.


Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks for your help,

Caitlin Black

Interesting project! 

I have no tips on alternatives and imagine this would be something one would have to design from the ground up.

You might find some inspiration from Andreas Speiss: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y89yJ1Fq-hQ etc.

I have an idea of using a RFID logger with arctic foxes to monitor pub survival/den attendance, so I will follow this thread with interest.



Hi Caitlin. 

There are a couple of RFID specs mainly working at two different frequencies, 125 kHz and 13.56 MHz. These are for passive RFID, ie: the cards, keychains, and glass capsules, which is what most people think of when they think of RFID. For your application, i recommend checking out the ISO15693 spec at 13.56 MHz. That protocol is nicknamed "vincinity card" and has a read range of 1 to 1.5m. This protocol is quite popular with electronic toll collection which usually requires more range. The other popular protocols are  ISO 14443 which is nicknamed "proximity card" and the NFC (Near Field Communications) protocols. These have a read range of around 10 cm and are meant for contactless communications in very close proximity.   

For the weighing, you'd probably need to put together a weigh scale circuit which consists of a load cell and some interface circuitry. 

We might be able to provide some assistance on this if we can get more info. Feel free to DM (direct mesage) me here at WildLabs.


I would reach out to Andrew Digby with the Kākāpō Project! They use "smart hoppers" that are supplementary feeders that only open for specific individuals based on their tags.

You might also reach out to Econode (https://www.econode.nz/) who make "smart traps." They use LoRaWAN to send notifications about if tracks are triggered but I'm not sure if they've incorporated RFID receivers into the system. They're based out of New Zealand.