Report on your cat’s finds for Mammal Atlas

Reporting what your cat brings in will help compile the Mammal Atlas.
Reporting what your cat brings in will help compile the Mammal Atlas.

Cat owners throughout the North-east of Scotland are being urged to record the animal “presents” their beloved felines bring through the cat flap, to help a major project in recording the mammals of the north-east of Scotland.

The information will help with the creation of a Mammal Atlas for Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Moray and the Cairngorms National Park.

The North East Scotland Biological Records Centre (NESBReC) is compiling the Mammal Atlas for 2015 but is appealing for help from local walkers, pet owners and animal lovers.

Small mammals are particularly under recorded and taking a note of what the cat catches and takes home is a very useful way of compiling the data.

A survey by the Mammal Society in 2001 found that the average household cat can catch up to 40 creatures a year. Mice tend to be the most popular mammal prey, followed by voles and shrews. Larger mammals, such as rabbits, weasels, stoats and squirrels were also recorded. Cats can roam up to 1km away each night and have a home range of 28 hectares.

Records of the animals that cats have caught could be the only way for NESBReC to get information on mammals in certain areas.

NESBReC is hosting two “Look What the Cat Brought In” events to help participants more easily identify mammals. These will be held at the University of Aberdeen’s Zoology Lecture Theatre at Tillydrone Avenue on September 28, the first at 9.30am – 12pm and the second from 1pm – 3.30pm. The events are free but booking is essential. To book, email mammals@nesbrec.org.uk.

NESBReC manager, Glenn Roberts, said: “We really welcome everyone in the north-east of Scotland to get involved in the creation of a Mammal Atlas. The most common species are often overlooked, and even if you have never looked at mammals before, it is easy to get involved in recording wildlife and photos are always welcomed.”

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee, Councillor Isobel Davidson, said: “The Mammal Atlas is an important project for the north-east of Scotland and I am glad to see NESBReC coming up with interesting and engaging ways for people to get involved.

“It might be unpleasant when the cat brings an animal into the house, but now at least it can be a useful indicator of the mammals living in your area.”