Saturday, 22 November 2014

Nibbled nuts

Walking through the woods you are very likely to see hazelnuts on the floor, in the leaf litter and at the base of Hazel coppice. Many small mammals rely on hazelnuts to survive and if you look closely you can tell what mammal has eaten it. For example squirrels have strong jaws and can crack the hard outer shell of a hazelnut in half, whereas mice have to nibble a little hole in the shell to get to the kernel inside, as you can see in the picture below. 

When dormice nibble through the shell they use their teeth to scallop a hole and so the edge is very smooth whereas if the edge has lots of scratches on it then it was probably eaten by a wood mouse. Why don't you have a look next time you are at Wenlock and test your mammal detective skills?

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