Graeme's picture

A large mammal hole

Observed: 2nd May 2010 By: Graeme
The Anton River Conservation Association
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Mammal Hole.Jone's Mill The Vera Jean Nature Reserve.Pewsey 02.04.10.jpg

Large hole found in bank side by reserve.Any idea what would make such a hole?

Species interactions

No interactions present.


anonymous spotter's picture


That would be my guess.

Kluut's picture

Ignore the hole

Trying to identify the digger is almost impossible from the actual hole, unless it has very loose/soft material on the base, in which case you should be able to find tracks. Smell of the hole may also give a clue. All of the common hole-diggers also normally make a home with multiple entrances.
Check the immediate vicinity for things like droppings, and hairs, food debris etc. - barbed-wire fences (bottom strand) are favourites for finding hairs. Foxes routinely leave loads of food remains and rubbish in the immediate area of their hole, especially when they have cubs.
As a very crude generalisation, rabbit-holes will tend to have a good view whereas fox and badger holes will often open into, rather than look out from, dense cover, woodland or a copse.
If you are near the sea, or a few select inland sites, shelduck are another possibility.
Also, no hole generally has one species of occupant over time.

In all probability, even with a large hole, but in such sandy soil, the occupant is rabbits.

the naturalist man's picture

I suspect rabbit

My guess would be rabbit.

If this were badger then I'd expect to see signs of bedding and usually a mound outside the hole.

As Kluut says if you go back, check for any droppings etc. near the hole. If rabbits then I'd expect droppings near the entrance. Also measure the hole size and note its shape, if there are clear runs then how wide are they? These are clues which can help to identify an occupant. However, you always have to consider, the animal that made the hole is not necessarily the same species as the current occupant. Badgers, for example, will have a number of setts within their territory but only use one at any one time. Foxes and rabbits regularly move into the empty setts, until the badgers want them back!

All I would say is it is an active entrance, whatever is using it has kept the entrance and approach clear of debris. Therefore, the only sure fire way to know what is using it is to stake it out, but that can be a long, cold activity.

Graham Banwell

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