Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Name that mammal...

I recently took part in Kent Wildlife Trust's Mammal Identification course.  The course took place, unsurprisingly, in Kent at Wildwood Trust.  This is a really lovely place which is a bit like a safari park for native animals.  In actual fact they have a lot of different animals including arctice fox, lynx and bison which are not native, but interesting all the same.

We spent the morning learning about the different families of animals, their main identification features and about fieldcraft techniques, i.e. spotting and identifying tracks and poo.  We were also able to look at pelts, antlers, skulls and other bones in the class to help us get an idea of the size of the animals.

After lunch, outside in the sunshine, we had a tour round the park to see the animals we had been taught about.  Some of which were elusive, weasel and stoat were both quite shy, and the badger had to be coaxed out of bed...

Polecat (Mustela putorius)

Badger (Meles meles)

Otter (Lutra lutra)

Fallow Deer (Dama dama)

Fallow Deer (Dama dama)

Wild Boar (Sus scrofa)

Konik Horse (Equus caballus)

Red Deer (Cervus elaphus)

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

The day was very informative and it was really helpful to see the animals close up to get an indication of their size and key features.  The other animals we saw were:

Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus); Bison (Bison bonasus); Harvest Mouse (Micromys minutus); Lynx (Lynx lynx); Pine Marten (Martes martes); Stoat (Mustela ermines); Weasel (Mustela nivalis); and Wolf (Canis lupus).

We finished the day off with a "poo i.d. test" in which Kerry and I fared quite admirably.  Chris Packham would have been proud of us!

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