#MammalChallenge 4: The Food Test

My fourth #MammalChallenge was not really a challenge… more of a food tasting experiment! I wanted to see which foods were preferred by the 3 species visiting the mammal box at the moment; Bank voles, Pygmy shrews and Common Shrews. I found plastic chair casters in Wilkinsons that were perfect for mini bowls and really cheap so I placed these in the Mammal Box and filled each of them with different foods.

Round 1 had bowls filled with berry suet pellets, kibbled peanuts and dried mealworms…. which would be the favourite?

Within minutes, the visitors arrived and early indications were that the kibbled peanuts would be the favourite….

The bank voles (and there are at least 4 individuals visiting) definitely liked these best and spent a lot of time on the edge of the bowl munching them.

Then a Common Shrew came in…. despite being insectivores, the shrews have shown a liking to lots of seeds I have offered in my feeding stations, but they love suet pellets… particularly the pink, berry ones! This individual came in and started taking the pellets straight away…

Over the following hour, this shrew removed all the suet pellets  from the bowl!

Once these were all removed, the voles and the shrews finished off the kibbled peanuts , leaving only the dried mealworms… very little interest in these. One of shrews had a look but did not take it and one of the smaller voles seem to take and interest when the other food had gone..

I replaced the food with three different tasters; raisins, pumpkin seeds and wholemeal bread. I did not think my visitors would have come across these food stuffs before much.

Initially, they seemed to come in and have a taste of all three….

Soon, it was apparent that the pumpkin seeds were most popular, followed closely by the wholemeal bread. The raisins were least popular and only eaten when everything else had gone.

What I have found most interesting is that the shrews will eat the seeds… this video shows one choosing the pumpkin seeds…

All fascinating stuff… I am thinking that may be I should try some meat based offering and see if the shrews will eat that… cat food perhaps?

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