Have you seen this little animal?

An example of dormouse muscardinus

Credit: Photo M. CARNET

Below is the press release:

Help us collect balls of owls. But why an investigation into these balls?

Studying balls allows us to better understand the distribution of micromammals, such as shrews, field mice, voles, etc. of a territory. Indeed, during their digestion, owls accumulate the undigested parts (absence of teeth and salivary gland) of their food which they reject through their beak in the form of a ball of rejection. In these balls, we therefore find remains of prey: bones, skulls, jaws, hair, feathers, etc. Since micromammals are very fearful and nocturnal, the best way to identify and study them is to dissect and analyze the pellets.

Where to find balls and how to harvest them

Nocturnal raptors use hiding perches and their roosting site to digest their prey: it can be poles, a dead tree, unused building roof spaces or a wall. If you find white streaks around these places, it’s their droppings. So you’ve come to the right place. The balls will be at the foot of these pitches. Above all, avoid disturbing the owls: avoid making noise, space out visits to the same place. Choose the blackest and most compact balls, pick them up as delicately as possible so that they don’t crumble, and put them in a cardboard box or in a closed plastic bag. Label each batch using the labels available on the website of the Burgundy Fauna Natural History Society.

Why harvest hazelnuts?

The Muscardin, also known as the golden rat, is very small, essentially nocturnal and difficult to observe. Luckily for us, he is a friend of hazelnuts! Just like balls, the study of nibbled hazelnuts provides a better understanding of the distribution of Muscardin in the territory.

Where to find hazelnuts and how to recognize the good ones?

The Muscardin likes deciduous or fairly dense mixed undergrowth, bocage connected to wooded entities, hedges provided with brambles and shrubs. Unlike other rodents that eat the nuts on the ground, it consumes them directly from the tree. It is therefore necessary to favor hazelnuts isolated on the ground, under the branches, under the entire width of the tree. The hole in the hazelnuts formed by the Muscardin is particular: it is regular, almost round, the internal edge is clean and smooth. You will also be able to see teeth marks all around the hole on the surface of the hazelnut, and seen from the side, the opening of the hole is almost straight Just like for the balls, pick up the hazelnuts, and put them in a box in carton or in a plastic bag. Label each batch using the labels available on the company’s website.

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