Surveying dormice using nest tubes. Results and experiences from the South West Dormouse Project (ENRR524)

In South West England, dormice have been found in several habitats which are not normally considered to be suitable for them such as coastal scrub, Culm grassland and heath. Conventional surveying methods do not work well in these habitats, or in more 'typical’ habitats when hazel trees are scarce. The recent development of plastic nesting tubes for dormice provides a means of carrying out surveys in these circumstances. The aim of the South West Dormouse Project was to investigate the use of tubes for dormouse surveying, to determine whether or not the use of such 'unconventional’ habitats might be considered normal in South West England and to make recommendations for the use of nest tubes in systematic surveying. A series of recommendations for planning, carrying out and interpreting nest tube surveys is made. Practical advice on using, setting and checking tubes in the field is also given.

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