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A tree hollow or tree hole is a semi-enclosed cavity which has naturally formed in the trunk or branch of a tree. These are predominantly found in old trees, whether living or not. Hollows form in many species of trees, and are a prominent feature of natural forests and woodlands, and act as a resource or habitat for a number of vertebrate and invertebrate animals.1

Hollows may form as the result of physiological stress from natural forces causing the excavating and exposure of the heartwood. Forces including wind, fire, heat, lightning, rain, attack from insects (such as termites or beetles), bacteria, or fungi. Also, trees may self-prune, dropping lower branches as they reach maturity, exposing the area where the branch was attached. Many animals further develop the hollows using instruments such as their beak, teeth or claws.12

The size of hollows may depend on the age of the tree. For example, eucalypts develop hollows at all ages, but only from when the trees are 120 years old do they form hollows suitable for vertebrates, and it may take 220 years for hollows suitable for larger species to form. Read more

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