newmanor1's picture


Observed: 6th January 2012 By: newmanor1

I attach photographs of a 'den' I found today in amongst game cover of maize and sunflowers on the east side of a mixed (but predominately conifer) wood, which is approx 20m from a fenland drain (with water). The 'den' seemed to be heavily used and the pathways very compacted, despite the damp weather lately, I was unable to detect any viable tracks. The holes are no bigger than a tennis ball and I wondered if it was Mink or Polecat ? I surveyed the area for some 20m and could find no evidence of any latrine which I thought might help me identify the residents ? There was no evidence of Brown Rats, and to be honest I have NEVER seen Brown Rats in this area .. however, I know that they are pretty much everywhere ! Can anyone help identify the occupants ?

Species interactions

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newmanor1's picture


I forgot to mention that we counted 11 entrance holes within a 15m x 3m area. I am experienced with badger, fox, weasel, stoat etc but have never come across something like this, the maize/sunflower game cover is pretty much over now and as you can imagine, well used and very dry and withered ... I know that Badgers eat the sweet corn cobs and hundreds of finches and buntings enjoy the sunflower heads.
I must STRESS that this has been found on an active game shoot, however, the Gamekeeper (part time) is not big on pest control other than foxes. I have NOT mentioned this den as I do the BTO Bird Track and the Mammal Society surveys and I am really keen to map and catalogue all bird and mammal species on this 8,000 acre estate.

Steve Mumford

the naturalist man's picture


Size, number of holes and such aside just the position, amongst a game feeding area screams rat.

Graham Banwell

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