jonmortin's picture

Do you know you're nuts?

Observed: 30th April 2013 By: jonmortin
Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre
jonmortin’s reputation in Mammalsjonmortin’s reputation in Mammals

Sorry, I meant to say your nuts! I am thinking Wood Mouse, but could any be Bank Vole?

Species interactions

No interactions present.


KelsaeJohn's picture


My guess would be a young squirrel but couldn't say whether red or grey. It is the random furrows (seen particularly on the bottom of the 3 nuts) that leads me to this - indicative of a youngster which will gnaw at random until, by chance, a hole appears. Having said that, the nut on the right of the pic looks very like that made by a bank vole! Sorry; that's the best I can do.

Gill Sinclair's picture

Wood mouse or bank vole?

The inner edge of the nut being chiselled is normally wood mouse or bank vole, and if there are also gnaw marks on the outside of the nuts that indicates wood mouse, however I didn't know young squirrels fed differently to adult ones - the adults usually just make a clean split along the nut but I suppose youngsters might not be strong enough to do that (or have mastered the technique). So inconclusive I'm afraid(!), but if anything I would have said wood mouse.

Gill Sinclair
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
Twitter @Gill_Sinclair

ar8922's picture

Vote for wood mouse

The outer markings are unusual, especially on the bottom nut but personally I would also suggest wood mouse for all 3.

KelsaeJohn's picture

Young Squirrels

Hi Gill,
You may very well be right about mouse/vole; they certainly look more like one or the other. It was the random gnawing marks (seen most clearly in the bottom nut) that made me think about young squirrels which do indeed learn how to open nuts only through experience. As I said earlier, they gnaw furrows at random on the shell until a hole appears. They can then insert their lower incisors to break off a piece of shell. Only after this do they learn the best place to gnaw a groove across the top which can then be 'crow-barred' open with the lower incisors.

Gill Sinclair's picture

Interesting re. young squirrels

Interesting - thanks for that:-)

Gill Sinclair
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
Twitter @Gill_Sinclair

the naturalist man's picture

Wood mouse

The random 'attack' on nuts goes for any species, they've got to learn; opening nut is not an inherent trait, or at least the technique isn't.

That said I would say the outer marks were too small for the teeth of even a juvenile squirrel, and as they all have them I would plump for wood mouse.

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'