Mammals are a group of vertebrate animals which form the class Mammalia. They have fur or hair and a very precise kind of temperature regulation.
With the exception of the monotremes, all mammals bear live young. Unlike other vertebrates, they are the only animals that produce milk for the young through their mammary glands.
Parental care of the young is universal among mammals, and it is essential because live birth limits the number of offspring.
|Badger - Meles meles
Dung pits are a particular feature of badger territories. Badgers do not deposit their dung just anywhere, they use special pits. Badgers use dung as a territory marker, so you will often find dung pits on badger paths around the edge of their territory. Dung pits look very much like snuffle holes, but with dung in them.
Usually a dark greyish-green, which shows that they have been feeding on
earthworms. Badgers will cheerfully eat many other things too, so it is always interesting to inspect the dung pits and see what they have been feeding on.
The badger lives an underground home called a sett, which will typically be towards the centre of their territory or home range. Their setts are usually situated in or near small clearings in woodland or copses. Roughly 80% or so are in woodlands or hedgerows where trees or their roots provide the badger with some form of protection. The sett will be obvious to those who know what to look for, as the ground around the used entrances will probably be free of vegetation, and may be muddy and may show evidence of badger prints.
A simple sett is made up of a single tunnel, with a sleeping chamber at the end. However, most setts have several entrance holes, and lots of tunnels which link up with each other. The tunnels also link up with sleeping and nursery chambers. The tunnels may have several interlinking passages underground; and may also be arranged so as to provide a constant supply of clean fresh air through the sett in most weathers. Accordingly, entrances may sometimes be on different levels to help stale air rise through the sett and be dissipated into the surrounding woodland.
||Grey Squirrel - Sciurus carolinensis
The grey squirrel is a native of north-east America. Its range there stretches from Quebec down through New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It was first recorded in the UK in the 1820s, but was not released into the wild until 1876 when allegedly a chap named T. V. Brocklehurst liberated a pair in Cheshire.
Why they were released is still a bit of a mystery. The most likely reason is that it fitted in with the Victorians' ideal of reshaping all aspects of the world, and it became the fashionable thing to do. At that time very few people were aware of the damage that this might cause to native wildlife.
The grey squirrel frequently has patches of reddish-brown coloured fur, and we often get asked if this is the product of cross breeding with red squirrels. It isn't. In fact grey squirrels are more often half grey and half brown.
||Mole - Talpa europaea
John F February 2017
Moles are very common throughout Britain, however, they are rarely seen as they spend almost their entire life underground. The Mole pre-breeding season population is estimated to be around 31,000,000. They have a cylindrical body, very strong shoulders and broad, spade-like fore limbs with claws. Its pink snout is hairless and extremely sensitive.
Male moles are called ‘boars’ and female moles are called ‘sows’. A group of moles is called a ‘labour’.
||Muntjac Deer - Muntiacus reevesi
John F October 2018
The small, Chinese Muntjac Deer was introduced to Woburn Park in Bedfordshire at the start of the 20th century and rapidly spread into the surrounding area. It is now a common animal across South East England and can be found in woodland, parkland and even gardens. Muntjac Deer are notorious browsers, eating the shoots from shrubs, as well as woodland herbs and Brambles. Male Muntjacs have short, unbranched antlers that slope backwards, and a pair of long canine teeth. They breed all year-round, but females usually only have one kid at a time. Muntjac Deer are also known as 'Barking Deer' because of their dog-like calls.
||Noctule Bat - Nyctalus noctula
Jools P 20131019
The Noctule is one of the UK's largest bats and often emerges early in the evening, before sunset. It may fly high and fast over open habitats making steep dives to chase its prey.
It eats small flies and also larger beetles and some moths. It is mainly a tree-dwelling species and most often roosts in woodpecker or rot holes in trunks and branches. Data on the population trend of the noctule are collected through the Field Surveys of The Bat Conservation Trust.
Picture taken during a bat box checking session. It is an offence to handle bats unless licensed to do so.
John F 9th March 2010
Evidence for otter presence is indicated by a number of signs, one of
which is their droppings, known as spraint. As well as indicating
presence, analysis of spraint can help us find out what the otters are
eating. Traditionally this was done by examining spraint under a low
power microscope, and identifying bones (and other undigested material,
such as fur and feathers).
Spraints are typically identified by smell and are known for their
distinct aromas, the smell of which has been described as ranging from
freshly mown hay to putrefied fish.
||Rabbit - Orytolagus cuniculus
John F Oct 2016
OK as Jools says this is an escapee and its a Netherland Dwarf (but it's still a rabbit)
Rabbits originated from Spain and South-West France. The rabbit was brought to England in the 12th century AD by the Normans and kept in captivity in warrens as a source of meat and fur.
Many escaped into the wild and eventually become so common that farming them was no longer economic.
Because of their fast breeding, a diet of virtually any vegetable matter and persecution of predators, the rabbit slowly established itself in the wild in Britain, despite originally favouring a warmer, drier climate.
Bio Blitz ------ 26-06-2015 blue & black
Badger - Meles meles
Bank vole - Myodes glareolus
Brown rat - Rattus norvegicus
Common Pipistrelle - Pipistrellus pipistrellus
Daubenton's Bat - Myotis daubentoni
Fox - Vulpes vulpes
Grey squirrel - Sciurus carolinensis
Mole - Talpa europaea
Natterer's Bat - Myotis nattereri
Noctule - Nyctalus noctula
Otter - Lutra lutra
Rabbit - Orytolagus cuniculus
Wood Mouse - Apodemus sylvaticus