Friday, March 1, 2013

Small Mammal Nest

This is the entrance to the Badger sett that I have been surveying with the Trailcam over the past few days. Notice the small nest-like structure, only just discernible, at the top left-hand corner of the brick.
It's a small mammal nest of some kind, about 8cm x 7cm, with no obvious entrance hole, and constructed almost entirely of grass stems. But how did it get there and what exactly is it? I think that the answer to the first question was revealed with a very brief bit of Trailcam footage a few nights ago showing a Badger disappearing backwards into the sett dragging a pile of fresh bedding. I reckon that this nest has probably rolled free from a similar wad of material as the Badger has shuffled past.

As to what exactly it is, that is a more interesting question. The two obvious contenders are Harvest Mouse and Dormouse. Sue Eden, in her brilliant book Living With Dormice, notes that Harvest Mice 'have a habit of finely splitting the grass leaves longitudinally'. There seems to be some evidence of that here. With no local Harvest Mouse signs yet being recorded in this area the money seems to be on Dormouse. Indeed, it looks very similar to the Dormouse hibernation nests in Sue's book, though there was no Dormouse inside and I'm sure the badger would have torn the nest apart if it had spotted it. So I guess it's most likely an old Dormouse summer nest. Whatever the answer, the owner is obviously very local to the sett and I'll be on the lookout for more signs as the year progresses!


  1. I would say almost definitely Dormouse. We find lots of them like that here.

  2. Thanks, Judy...I'm hoping this will be the first of many, evidence of a healthy Dormouse population!