Mammals

Related links: The Mammal Society

A total of 29 species have been identified on the Warren however only around 15 of these are resident, with seven occasional and seven vagrants or extinct.

Last update: 10/05/21

Hedgehog                                     Erinaceus europaeus
In the early 1990s was recorded “patrolling the dunes at night”, but there have been no reported sightings since. The only recent record concerns a long dead individual which was discovered in Greenland Lake in 2000 and was presumably brought in by a gull or crow. Reports from the Golf Course and Buffer Zone in 2020 hint at a welcome return. The tideline record below was recorded in May 2021.

Mole                                              Talpa europaea
Molehills are rare in the Recording Area, but this species can be found in the grassland near the seawall, dead individuals have also been recorded in the Car Park and more surprisingly on Warren Point.

Common Shrew                           Sorex araneus
The most frequently recorded species. None of the shrews are seen regularly but they can often be heard from undergrowth especially in wooded areas. Most identified records concern individuals which are found dead on the edge of paths.


© Simon Thurgood

Pygmy Shrew                                Sorex minutus
Rarely recorded.

Water Shrew                                 Neomys fodiens
This larger darker species is occasionally seen around the Main and Dune Ponds.

Common Pipistrelle                     Pipistrellus pipistrellus
Bats can be regularly seen in the summer months feeding over the Main Pond. It was not until 2004 this species was identified using a Bat Detector.

Soprano Pipistrelle                     Pipistrellus pygmaeus
First identified in 2009, now regularly recorded.

Whiskered/Brandt's Bat              Myotis sp.
Several of these have been recorded foraging over the site each summer since 2009.

Noctule Bat                                    Nyctalus noctula
Recorded in the late 1980's, no recent record.

Rabbit                                           Oryctolagus cuniculus
This species probably has a very long association with the Warren! It is thought the area could have been first used as a warren by the Normans and this then continued into the Middle Ages. The grazing pressure maintained by this species benefits a large number of the rarer plants that grow in the Recording Area. Myxomatosis outbreaks occur each year, but these rarely threaten the population, however the arrival of Viral Haemorrhagic Disease had a devastating effect. Numbers stabilised, but at a much lower level. The recent second strain of VHD has caused further declines.


© Simon Thurgood

Brown Hare                                    Lepus europaeus
The second record for the Recording Area was on Warren Point on 5th Jul 2006. There is also an undated record from the 1970s. It is possible that this species was present in the past before regular recording began.

Grey Squirrel                               Sciurus carolinensis
A rare autumn visitor, even vagrant, to the Warren with fewer than 15 records, although its occurrence has increased in recent years. Individuals are usually seen in the Entrance Bushes or Dead Dolphin Wood but it has been recorded on the shore of the Bight and along the seawall.
 

Field Vole                                      Microtus agrestis
This species is rarely recorded, possibly due it secretive nature. However it is occasionally seen around Greenland Lake.

Bank Vole                                     Clethrionomys glareolus
This species is very rarely recorded, the most recent record confirmed appears to be one which was caught using small mammal traps in 1990.

Water Vole                                   Arvicola amphibius
First recorded in autumn 2013, with a further individual in 2014. the next sighting was not until 2018 but the species is now established on site, but rarely seen. These have come from a long established re-introduction project at Cockwood Marsh.


© Alan Keatley

Wood Mouse                                Apodemus sylvaticus
Although no mammal trapping has knowingly occurred on site recently, this species is still known to be present with occasional sightings.


© John Gowland

Brown Rat                                     Rattus norvegicus
Most commonly seen around the amusements area, its tracks however can be seen anywhere on the Dune Ridge.

Porpoise                                       Phocoena phocoena
The third record was only on 5th December 2004, however there have been more regular sightings in recent years.

Long-finned Pilot Whale             Globicephala melas
There have been at least two records of this species along the tide line. The first involved an adult which was washed ashore dead in February 1992, it had injuries suggesting it had been in collision with a ship. The other record occurred in October 2001 when a small unweaned calf was found stranded near Warren Point, unfortunately it was too ill to be refloated and had to be put down. What was presumably this individual was reported the day before along with some distant dorsal fins that could have been this species.  The third recent and the first non stranded record was an adult offshore during the morning of the 21st May 2005.

[Risso's Dolphin                          Grampus griseus]

Two probables were seen distantly off Langstone Rock on 12th December 2010.

Bottle-nosed Dolphin                 Tursiops truncates
Dolphins were regular feature of the summer months until recent years, although they have been recorded at all times of year. In summer a pod of up to 30 animals is usually present in this area of Lyme Bay, with records from Torbay and Teignmouth relating to the groups seen off the Warren. If feeding conditions are good they can often be located by searching the area of sea around diving Gannets.

Common Dolphin                         Delphinus delphus
The first recent record, in March 1997, involved two individuals well watched swimming into the estuary mouth before heading back out to sea. Since then there have been four records of up to 20 individuals.


© Alan Keatley

Fox                                                 Vulpes vulpes
There are usually at least two dens in the Recording Area and individuals can be seen throughout the year, although mostly only early morning or late evening.


© Lee Collins

Stoat  
                                           
Mustela erminae
Most often recorded on the Dune Ridge, it was confirmed breeding in 2004, when an adult was seen carrying two young from the foredunes into an area of bramble. It was also confirmed breeding on the Golf Course in 2013. The decline in Rabbits may have contributed to a drop in recent sightings.


© Alan Keatley

Weasel                                          Mustela nivalis
One was seen near the visitor centre on 28th January 2005, the first confirmed record since the early 1990s. Another individual was seen at the northern end of Greenland Lake on 26 Jun 2005,with occasional sightings since then. Footprints are however frequently seen.


© Phil Walsh

Mink                                               Mustela vison
This introduced American species was recorded infrequently up to the early 1990s. This species made an unwelcome return in May 2010 with one on the Main Pond. Further records followed and led to Coot abandoning the site but there has been no further reports.


© Matt Twydell
 

Badger                                          Meles meles
There are no setts in the recording area, but individuals are occasionally resident. Rarely seen, their presence is often revealed by diggings for worms on the Golf Course fairways or prints along the sand dunes.


© Lee Collins

Otter                                              Lutra lutra
There is an old report of one being washed up dead on the tideline, this species may have been present in the past, along with other species such as Brown Hare.
A recent record from a camera trap at the Main Pond in Jan 2017 has not yet been repeated.

Common Seal                               Phoca vitulina
Common Seal is a rare visitor with only two or three recent records. A long term resident was also present in the estuary until 2018.


© Alan Keatley

(Atlantic) Grey Seal                     Halichoerus grypus
Despite the name the Grey Seal is by far the commonest recorded here, individuals often remain in the area for long periods and it can be encountered throughout the year. They are most often seen in the river at high tide or hauled out on exposed sandbars.


© Alan Keatley

Roe Deer                                      Capreolus capreolus
The first record was a single hind present on site for several weeks in the autumn of 2001. Despite the length of stay it was only seen infrequently, usually around Greenland Lake and Dead Dolphin Wood, another was present in 2004 & 2005. Other records include a hind which was recorded walking in front of the hide before swimming across Shutterton Creek, one in the Entrance Bushes in May 2008 and two together on the Golf Course in 2010. The only recent record was from footprints on Warren Point in June 2016, one had been seen the previous day trying to swim across from Exmouth.


May 2008 © Simon Thurgood

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