Graham Anderson's picture

Bark striiped

Observed: 22nd February 2013 By: Graham Anderson

While walking along the towpath at the side of the canal at Foxton, Leicestershire, close to the marina, on February 22nd I noticed that for a distance of about 100 meters bark had been stripped from the bottom metre of the hedge next to the tow path. Either side of this 100 meter stretch we found no further bark stripping.
There appeared to be teeth marks visible. What would do this? Would it be likely to kill the trees?


No identification made yet.

Species interactions

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Sara Garcia's picture

I have seen damage like this

I have seen damage like this done to tree bark by feral goats with their horns, but I've only seen it happening in forests, so I'm not sure if that would be the case by a walk way.

Sara Garcia Hipolito

Amadan's picture

Bark stripping

I've seen extensive damage done by squirrel and rabbit, as well as browsing livestock. You also see scrapes caused by various animals sharpening or cleaning their claws, The ground-level location suggests rabbit to me.

Alurophile's picture


I think this is probably Rabbit gnawing. There are rather obvious tooth marks in the close-up photo. Some measurements might have been helpful: width of gnaw marks, height from the ground. You say "hedge" but the photos look like trees or at least saplings or perhaps a regrown coppice stool. I assume there was no damage further up the trunk?

This damage is likely to have taken place in the hard weather when snow lay on the ground. Water Voles also gnaw wood in similar circumstances but being very small I don't think they'd be able to strip this amount of bark & their toothmarks would be really quite small.

These trunks might well die if they've been stripped right around & the underlying layer damaged but it is not an important issue on the site in question. The base will be likely to sprout again. Dead wood is probably, in this habitat, more valuable than live as it supports a wide range of beetles & fungi. Sadly, most dead wood is cleared away.