Surrey Wildlife Trust to study owl pellets

Little owl
Image caption Owls eat their food whole as they do not have teeth to chew with

A Surrey wildlife organisation is asking people to collect owl pellets to help them understand more about the county's harvest mice population.

Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) have set up the Surrey Harvest Mice Project to update current knowledge of the mice and help manage the species.

At present very little is known about harvest mice populations in Surrey.

SWT want to find out more about them by analysing owl pellets which contain harvest mouse remains.

The harvest mouse is a common food source for owls and other birds of prey.

SWT said that owl pellets varied in size and consistency and could be found in old farm buildings or around old mature trees.

Barn owl pellets can be quite large at 3cm to 7cm and are highly compacted, smooth and rounded with a black varnish like gloss when fresh. Tawny owl pellets tend to be small and narrow, between 2cm and 5cm, sandier, bonier and less solid.

SWT said it hoped members of the public would pick up owl pellets they found and post them to the organisation to help with the harvest mice research.

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