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TRANSACTIONS SUFFOLK

BADGERS

ONE of the most interesting developments of recent years has been the apparent increase in the number of badgers in the county. As recently as 1930 (Trans. S.N.S., Vol. I, pt. II, p. 101) H. Andrews could write " I have absolutely no data as to the presence of either Badgers or Polecats in our county " though in his Mammals of Suffolk (Trans. S.N.S., Vol. II, pt. I, p. 21, 1932) the late Dr. C. B. Ticehurst says " I do not believe that this animal is extinct in Suffolk, but it easily escapes Observation through its nocturnal habits . . . I can remember three being thus taken (in rabbit traps) near Lowestoft about 1912." In the same year badgers were reported at Wissington and on the initiative of our member, Miss Vulliamy, steps were taken to preserve " the sole localised Badgers' Earth in the County." Reports on these badger's continued existence occur fairly frequently in subsequent Transactions and usually as if they were the only known badgers in the county, though reports of others appear at regulär intervals—Southwold (Dr. Collings, 1935), Butley (G. Bird, 1941), Bures (P. D. C. Walker, 1942), Needham Market (J. Burton, 1946), Long Melford (C. H. Row, 1947), Cornard Tye (1950). The Wissington badgers seem to have disappeared in 1945 or 1946 (the Society ceased paying the annual Danegeld of £ 3 in 1947), but the animals seem to have become well established in south-west Suffolk by that date and there are fairly frequent reports of badgers round Sudbury,, Cläre, Ager Fen, etc., etc. From the evidence it seems possible that Dr. Ticehurst was right and that a few badgers have always existed in Suffolk scattered about the county but usually unnoticed and unrecorded. This is not to be wondered at—badgers are retiring animals and, though an occasional " rogue " will sometimes occur, do not advertise their presence by killing poultry, etc., as do foxes : in fact, even where they are common, they are seldom noticed by the casual observer and have to be sought out with care by those who wish to see them. The same seems to be true of earlier years. The late Mr. G. T. Rope writing in the Victoria County History in 1911, says " the badger can no longer, I fear, be included in a list of Suffolk mammals " though he then gives a list of captures which seem to indicate that even in those much keepered days the badger maintained a precarious foothold in the


110

SUFFOLK

BADGERS

county. Dßring the past few years several have been reported :— " E. Suffolk " (H. Drake, 1952), Rendham (C. H. Kerr Smiley, 1952), Mildenhall (H. Southwell, 1953), Tunstall (Cranbrook, 1953), while Mr. G. W. Backhouse, the Conservator of the Forestry Commission, teils me that in 1953 there vvere no less than five occupied setts in the State forests in W. Suffolk. Badgers are welcome residents on Forestry Commission land where they can do no harm and much good : now that they are well established and protected in the State forests we can hope to see these interesting animals increase in number throughout the County. C.

MAMMALS ON HAVERGATE ISLAND AFTER THE FLOOD BY L T . - C O L .

H.

G.

BROWNLOW

has, as a backbone, a shingle strip nearly two miles long. T h e rest of the island consists of derelict pastures inside flood-walls, with saltings outside them. T h e sluice Controlling the triangular basin known as Doveys at the southwest end was finally destroyed by the flood, and Doveys is now tidal. T h e water level in the greater part of the rest of the island is controlled by another sluice, fortunately undamaged, and is normally kept in a State suitable for the breeding of Avocets, not of mammals. There are no trees, only a few gorse and eider bushes, and -some teaplant bushes round the old ruined cottage. T h e banks provide a possible habitat for small mammals, and there is sufficient thick Vegetation on the slopes of the shingle bank in places to provide cover for hares. HAVERGATE ISLAND

T h e island was entirely covered by water in the flood of 3Ist January, 1953. Only the tops of some of the highest bushes and the two living huts protruded above the flood. It probably had, therefore, a disastrous effect on the resident mammals. A colony of rabbits in the north-east end of the shingle strip was wiped out. Not one has been seen since the flood. T w o

Suffolk Badgers  
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