What to look out for on the Meadow

MAMMALS 2018-06-19T21:14:33+00:00

The Bishop’s Meadow is a popular walking spot for local dog owners and you will be lucky to see many mammals when you are out on the Meadow. But there may be more small mammals than you think hiding in the long grass.  A small mammal survey conducted on behalf of the Bishop’s Meadow Trust in 2014 found good populations of wood mouse and bank vole.

The Bank Vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) can be distinguished from a mouse by its chubby appearance, blunt nose, small eyes, ears and short furry tail.  Adults have a glossy chestnut-brown coat that may shade to grey on the belly.

The Wood Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) is rarely seen, being active only at night. It has a sandy-brown coat and large ears with white underparts. Its main food is seeds.

The survey report notes that all animals were found between the large oak and footpath gate at the western end of the Meadow under log piles, in scrub and long grass, showing the importance of this protective habitat.

Shrews have also been sighted on the Meadow and these may be either the common shrew or the pigmy shrew or possibly both!

The Common Shrew (Sorex araneus) has a long pointed nose, tiny eyes and small rounded ears set close to its head. Earthworms are one of its favourite foods while it is a vital food source for kestrels and grass snakes.

Other mammals which you may spot on the Meadow include grey squirrels, foxes, brown rats, hedgehogs, badgers looking for worms and occasionally roe deer grazing on new grass.  Look out too for signs of moles tunnelling underground seeking their earth worm meals.

Although they have yet to show an appearance, otters are likely to inhabit the river area of the Meadow.  They have been sighted on the River Wey so watch out to see if they arrive in Farnham!

The Meadow is extremely important for local bat populations.  It is a quiet, dark and insect-rich place – just what bats like when they are out hunting for food.

Evidence suggests that at least 2 species of bat are present on the Meadow (Common Pipistrelle and Soprano Pipistrelle) but a survey would be needed to know whether other species are present.

Would you like to see more on the meadow?