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A LIST OF THE MAMMALS OF SOUTHWEST SUFFOLK By W. H. PAYN, M.B.E., M.B.O.U. This paper is intended to be a companion to my previous publication " The Birds of South-West Suffolk " (Trans. S.N.S. Vol. viii), though it is rather more limited in its scope, as my personal knowledge of the distribution of all but a few of the larger and more conspicuous mammals is confined to the vilage of Härtest and its neighbourhood. I have been able to obtain very little information from other local sources—people's interest in and knowledge of the smaller mammals seems limited—but I have extracted from the published Transactions of our Society such records as are referable to the area under review, including material from Ticehurst's classified list of mammals for the whole county (see references). Meantime I hope that others mayfindthe notes which follow useful as a bare skeleton upon which to hang thefleshof further knowledge as it is acquired. My best thanks are due to Lord Cranbrook for kindly reading and commenting on the MS. and to Mr. John Wildash of the Forestry Commission for information about badgers. CLASSIFIED LIST HEDGEHOG (Erinaceus europaeus L.). A very plentiful inhabitant of the area. MOLE (Talpa europaea L.). Plentiful. COMMON SHREW (Sorex araneus L.). Quite common in the neighbourhood of Härtest. PIGMY SHREW (Sorex minutus L.). Despite thorough trapping round Härtest, I have no evidence that this shrew occurs in the area. Ticehurst, however, recorded it as common everywhere without giving localities. WATER SHREW (Neomys fodiens Sehr.). I have records of this shrew from the River Stour at Long Melford and Cläre and from the Glem at Boxted and Somerton, and I have trapped speeimens at Härtest in a very small brook which is frequently dry in summer. Ticehurst considered it common.


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BATS. The exact status of the various species of bats in S.W. Suffolk is still far from clear, but recently some research, including ringing, has been done by various enthusiasts into the bat population of the chalk caves on the outskirts of Bury St. Edmunds, and I am most grateful to Mr. Owen Gilbert for information on the preliminary results of his studies of bats in these caves and elsewhere. T h e following species have now been identified in the area under review : PIPISTRELLE

(Pipistrellus p. Sehr.).

WHISKERED BAT

Plentiful everywhere.

(Myotis mystacinus Kühl.).

DAUBENTON'S BAT

(Myotis daubentoni Kühl.).

(Myotis nattereri Kühl.). All these have been identified in the Bury St. Edmunds Chalk caves (Gilbert). NATTERER'S BAT

BARBASTELLE (Barbastella barbastellus Sehr.). Westley (Gilbert).

Has occurred at

NOCTULE (Nyctalus noctula Sehr.). I have speeimens from Boxted and Härtest, obtained in the 1930's. Formerly one or two were to be seen every summer Aying over meadowland at Härtest, but since the felling of some large elms in which they evidently roosted, they have disappeared. Gilbert records many Aying near Westley in 1948. This large bat is easily identified on the wing. LONG-EARED BAT (Plecotus auritus L . ) . Identified on several occasions at Härtest. Also in Bury chalk caves (Gilbert).

Fox (Vulpes vulpes L.). Foxes are present throughout the area, being apparently more plentiful now than formerly, possibly through the decrease in gamekeepers and game-preserving generally. BADGER (Meies meles L . ) . Formerly the status of the Badger in the area was precarious (see Ticehurst) but it is now well established on the light land along the north bank of the River Stour from Higham and Stoke-by-Nayland up to Sudbury and is slowly extending its ränge northwards. There are " setts " at Groton and Boxford and I know of three or four not far from Long Melford, though unfortunately, the old-established " sett " in Linnage Wood near Lavenham was destroyed in the spring of 1954 and at least two of the occupants were trapped by the keeper. (See also " Suffolk Badgers," Lord Cranbrook, Trans. S.N.S. 1953). OTTER (Lutra lutra L.). T h e status of so shy and secretive a creature as the Otter must always be a matter of surmise and only those who live alongside its haunts are ever likely even to hear it. Nevertheless it appears that the Otter is well established on the Rivers Gipping and Stour, and it wanders at times up the River


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311

Glem as far as Boxted, while recently one lived for some time and was finally killed in a small drain running into the brook in the middle of Härtest village. STOAT (Mustela erminea L). Known as the " Blacktail " in Suffolk, the Stoat was formerly plentiful, but during the past summer many people have commented on its scarcity and certainly I have never trapped so few in the garden here. It seldom turns completely white so far to the south, but partially white specimens turn up from time to time. WEASEL (Mustela nivalis L.). Plentiful. T h e countryman is still convinced that there are two species, the smaller of which he calls " T h e Mousehunter ". SQUIRREL (Sciurus vulgaris L.). T h e Red Squirrel is still fairly plentiful in suitable wooded localities. I have noted it at Bures, Polstead, Boxted, Shimpling, Ickworth and Drinkstone, and Engleheart has recorded it from Stoke-by-Nayland. Odd specimens of the Grey Squirrel (Sciurus cinereus L.) have been reported from the Newmarket area, evidently strays from Cambridge where it is still to be seen. DORMOUSE (Muscardinus avellanarius L.). Dr. Grace Griffith reports the Dormouse as occurring within recent years at Bures and Assington, but I cannot hear of it elsewhere in S.W. Suffolk, though Ticehurst recorded it from Thurston, Tostock, Lavenham, Long Melford, Stoke-by-Nayland and about Bury St. Edmunds. Perhaps members of our Society living in these localities will report on its present status there. HARVEST M O U S E (Micromys minutus Pallas). I have obtained specimens from barley stacks at Härtest and Cavendish, and have elsewhere seen its nest in rough hedgerows. It is probably fairly widely distributed. Will the combine-harvester have any effect on its numbers ? WOODMOUSE (Apodemus sylvaticus L.). Plentiful, spending the winter in faggot heaps, potato clamps, etc., as well as underground, but seldom comes indoors. YELLOW-NECKED M O U S E (Apodemus flavicollis wintoni). Very plentiful at Härtest where it proves a great nuisance in the garden in summer and in the winter when it invades the apple and potato lofts. Last winter I caught thirteen in one shed. This mouse has also been recorded from Tostock (Ticehurst) Higham and Woolpit (Cranbrook) Rougham (Crowcroft, Trans. S.N.S. 1955) and Haverhill (Vine).

musculus L.). Plentiful. B R O W N R A T (Rattus rtorvegicus Erxl.). All too numerous, but its numbers vary from year to year, according to whether the summer is wet or dry. H O U S E M O U S E (MUS


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SUFFOLK

W A T E R VOLE (Arvicola amphibius L.). Quite common on the Rivers Stour, Giern and Gipping. F I E L D VOLE (Microtus agrestis L.). Plentiful. B A N K VOLE (Evotomys glareolus Sehr.). T h e commonest of the voles and at Härtest comes into the outbuildings in winter to feed on apples and potatoes. It also barks the stems of privet and lilac and digs up crocus bulbs. RABBIT (Oryctolagus cuniculus L.). A few have survived in most parts of the area and personally I hope that they will long continue to do so, as apart from the fact that nine countrymen out of ten regret their passing, only time can show whether the total extinetion of the rabbit would be a good thing for the countryside as a whole. B R O W N HARE (Lepus europaeus Pallas). Well distributed and appears to have increased since the onset of myxomatosis. F A L L O W DEER (Cervus dama L.). Düring the war a number of Fallow Deer escaped from Ickworth Park and have now established themselves in woodlands in the neighbourhood. I am grateful to Major E. Pearson M.F.H., for the information that these deer are now present in some numbers in the parishes of Barrow, Saxham, Brockley, Whepstead and Hawstead. Odd speeimens have also been reported from Rougham and Härtest. A Roe Deer reported killed in Linnage Wood, Lavenham, some five or six years ago, was, Lord Cranbrook considers, more likely to have been a Fallow Deer.

REFERENCES C. B. Ticehurst

" Mammals of SufTolk ", Trans. S.N.S. Vol. II, 1932.

Owen Gilbert

" On Bats in West Suffolk ", Trans. S.N.S. Vol. VI, 1948.

Owen Gilbert

" Mites on Bats ", Trans. S.N.S. Vol. VII, 1951.

Owen Gilbert

" Bats' Parasitic D i p t e r a " , Vol. VII, 1951.

Lord Cranbrook

" Suffolk Badgers ", Trans. S.N.S. Vol. VIII, 1953.

Lord Cranbrook

" Yellow-necked Field Mouse ", Trans. S.N.S. Vol. VIII, 1952.

Trans.

S.N.S.

Mammals of S.W. Suffolk  
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