Small Mammal Licensing
Small mammals, for the purposes of this page, include voles, shrews, mice, rats, moles, stoats and hedgehogs. Information on licensing for other mammals can be found on the following pages:
- Bat licensing
- Dormouse licensing
- Otter licensing
- Badger licences
- Deer licensing
- Pine marten and Polecat licensing
- Red squirrel licensing
- Water vole licensing
- Marine European Protected Species licensing
Small mammals include insectivores, such as hedgehogs, moles and shrews, and rodents, such as mice and voles. Not all species are protected, and the levels of protection vary between species.
This page cannot cover all aspects of the law or mammal ecology, but is an introduction to show how you can help to protect these species.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), known as ‘the Act’, lists several mammal species on Schedule 6, for which certain methods of killing or taking are prohibited. These include the following small mammals:
- Hedgehog, Erinaceus europaeus
- Shrews, Soricidae
- Water vole, Arvicola amphibious
- Eurasian Stoat, Mustela ermine
The water vole is also listed on Schedule 5 of the Act. For more information, see ‘Water vole licensing’.
None of the species considered here are protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (known as ‘the Habitats Regulations’). The Hazel dormouse is listed on schedule of 5 of the Habitats Regulations. For more information, see Dormouse licensing.
NRW issues licences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act for specific purposes, so you can undertake certain activities without breaking the law. We can grant licences for the following purposes:
- Scientific and educational
- Ringing or marking
- Conserving wild animals or wild plants, or introducing them to particular areas
- Protecting any zoological or botanical collection
- Public health or public safety
- Preventing the spread of disease
- Preventing serious damage to crops, property, fisheries etc
We cannot issue licences for the purposes of development under this legislation.
When you can apply for a licence
Apply for a protected species licence
If you cannot avoid disturbing protected species, or damaging their breeding sites and resting places, you can apply for a licence for a range of different activities:
You can contact us for help at any time before or during your licence application.