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Countryside Animals

Cornwall is blessed with an abundance of wildlife...

But you may need to look carefully to find some of the larger mammals and reptiles, as some can be very shy! Early morning or evening is usually the best time to spot creatures such as deer, bats and badgers, while if you are returning home after an evening out, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a fox.

Mammals

Thanks to the efforts of charities and organisations such as the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, the county's mammal populations are looking healthy. Why not help them monitor numbers by reporting any wildlife you see while you're here? They also run a wildlife information service, providing an in-depth source of information about the animals that can be found here. Some woodlands now put up nest facilities for dormice, in the hope that this will encourage them to breed.

Otters live beside streams and rivers in Cornwall and can be detected by their tracks and droppings, known as spraint. Walk along a country lane at dusk, and you may be lucky enough to spot bats swooping overhead, hunting for insects between the high hedges.

Reptiles

Reptiles can be seen around Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly but are usually very shy. Snakes such as adders and grass snakes may sometimes be spotted sunbathing on coastal paths. Keep your eyes open and look ahead because if they hear you they will slither off and hide. If you detect them from a distance you can enjoy watching them curled up in the sun.

The lizard may show himself emerging from a Cornish hedge or roadside verge, while slow-worms often frequent gardens, hiding under wood or metal sheeting whose heat they enjoy, before hunting around for a juicy slug.

Amphibians

Amphibians are found in many areas but they often hide themselves away so it pays to know where to look. The exception to this is when they return to their home pond to spawn and during the period when the tadpoles have just become frogs. At this time it is possible to see hundreds of tiny frogs crossing roads and footpaths. Palmate and Smooth newts are also found in ponds around Cornwall but are not naturally present on the Isles of Scilly.

Otter

Animal Group: Mammal.

Deer

Animal Group: Mammal.

Badger

Animal Group: Mammal.

Hedgehog

Animal Group: Mammal.

Fox

Animal Group: Mammal.

Bat

Animal Group: Mammal.

Adder

Animal Group: Reptile.

Grass Snake

Animal Group: Reptile.

Common Lizard

Animal Group: Reptile.

Slow Worm

Animal Group: Reptile.

Common Frog

Animal Group: Amphibian.

Common Toad

Animal Group: Amphibian.

Newt

Animal Group: Amphibian.

The Mammal Society

The Mammal Society species guide has more wildlife identification information.

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Vincent Wildlife

The Vincent Wildlife species guide has more wildlife identification information.

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