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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Use snakeskin to deter mammalian nest predators Bird Conservation

Key messages

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A randomised, replicated and controlled trial in the USA found that artificial nests were less likely to be predated if they had snake skin wrapped around them than control nests.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


A randomised, replicated and controlled trial in May-June 2004 in Arkansas, USA (Medlin & Risch 2006) found that artificial great crested flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus nests placed inside 60 nest boxes were less likely to be predated if there was black rat snake Elaphe obsolete skin inside the nest box (0/20 nests predated) or both inside and outside the nest box (0/20 predated) than if there was no snake skin present (5/20 predated). Predation was mainly by southern flying squirrels Glaucomys volans. Snake skins were treated by being placed in proximity with to a live rat snake for five hours prior to installation.



Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2019) Bird Conservation. Pages 141-290 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.