Mammals


Image above by Max Anderson
Hazel dormouse Muscardinus avellanarius - A typically arboreal mammal, found occupying habitats where new growth arises after woodland management such as coppicing, ride widening, and thinning or glade creation. Feed on a variety of food items throughout the year including hazelnuts, blackberries, flowers and insects, before hibernating for winter. Threatened by poor habitat management , loss of habitats and commuting routes.

Peoples Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) nationwide monitoring scheme keeps a close eye on how dormice are doing. They have over 25 years of records collected by hundreds of volunteer monitors that guide nationwide actions to save dormice.

Further information on the PTES scheme can be found here.


Image above by Gilles San Martin


Bechstein's bat Myotis bechsteinii - Found mainly in deciduous woodlands, but also occupy parklands and coniferous woodlands. During the summer, they can be found occupying roosts in tree holes. Feed mainly on noctuid moths and flies, and hibernates in cellars, tree holes and underground caves during the winter. Beer Caves and Quarries in East Devon is a nationally important site for the bat.


Image above by Alexandre Roux

Grey long-eared bat Plecotus austriacus - Associated with open woodlands, this species is an open or edge habitat forager, mainly feeding on lepidoptera and diptera. Most commonly found roosting during the summer in attics. During the winter, they will occupy caves, cellars and other underground sites for hibernation. Main centre of distribution is in Dorset and east Devon.

A Back from the Brink project, led by the Bat Conservation Trust, is working with landowners to discover how to retain and enhance the habitats that Grey longed-eared bats need. The project aims to connect the habitat patches that remain, and keep these grasslands in good health.


Image above by John Walters
Greater horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum - This species mainly feeds on dung beetles and noctuid moths and can be found foraging in cattle grazed pasture, woodland edges and hedgerows. Maternity roosts form during summer in buildings, whilst winter hibernation roosts are often in underground caves. Threatened by urbanisation and loss of grazed pasture and natural linear features.

South Hams SAC has the largest population in the UK, including the largest known maternity roost in the UK and possibly in Europe, consisting of over 1,500 adult bats

Working across Devon, the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project is looking to secure the future of this species in the county.

Further sources of information:

The Mammal Society

Devon Mammal Group

Devon Bat Group

Bat Conservation Trust