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Squirrel or dormouse?

Walnuts that have been nibbled on the tree

I found these nibbled walnuts still attached to the tree.

Some animal has penetrated both the green outer layer and the shell, and eaten the entire kernel through a single ragged hole while bouncing up and down a couple of metres off the ground.

I’m very divided as to the culprit.

I’ve seen black squirrels around, and they eat walnuts. However they normally pick a nut off the twig and eat it between their paws, and they also tend to split walnuts in half.

Dormice – which I wouldn’t have seen as they are nocturnal – eat nuts on the twig and make holes just like those in the photo. However although I read on the internet that they eat ‘nuts’,  especially hazelnuts, I couldn’t find any mention of them eating walnuts.

On balance I think it’s dormice, particularly because these walnuts were on twigs which wouldn’t have supported the weight of a squirrel.

I would love to go out at night, shine a torch, and catch a cute little dormouse in the act of swaying along a twig, but I value my sleep too much.

  1. September 17, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Hi Damaris, it looks like the work of a mouse to me! Amazon sells night vision cameras that you can mount on a tree, fence or post. Really reasonably priced they take great wildlife photos without scaring the animals. You may be surprised but whats lurking around your yard at night!

    • Damaris
      September 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      Hello Donna, nice to hear from you! I would love to set up a camera like that – the trouble would be choosing the best place to put it as I’d like to catch porcupine or wild boar as well and the ground’s quite open round the house. It’s something to think about!

  2. September 17, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Dormice are adorable!

    • Damaris
      September 17, 2012 at 10:50 pm

      So much so in fact that I don’t object to them helping themselves to the odd walnut!

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