There are 17 species of bats in the UK and all of them eat insects. They consume tons of them from spring to autumn. If you grow flowers that attract a range of insects into your garden, you can become a feeding station for a multitude of wildlife such as bats and birds and nature foots the bill!

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If you need help with a bat call our office on 01344 623106 and if it is outside office hours  text or call 07760 881189 and leave a detailed message and a specialist will call you back.

Other animals in the Mustelids family include weasels, stoats, otters, polecats, martens, pine martens and skunks.

How can you not love these? They are just like little bears. They are full of character and fun and make fantastic viewing for those fortunate enough to get a glimpse of them. They are both striking visually and fascinating to watch. They have strong family ties and many  setts have been recorded in the same place for over 300 years.

Badgers are very territorial and will protect their home. Badgers are clean animals and clear out their home daily and even have their own toilets called latrines. Badgers live underground in setts. One group usually has a maximum of 13 badgers and they sometimes have winter and summer quarters. During the winter they can spend days at a time underground sleeping. They are a really tight community and protect each other well, a group of badgers is known as a clans or cetes. They will play with each other tumbling and nipping and this helps strengthen their ties. Badges are one of the few creatures to have delayed implantation, this means they can have their young when they choose. Sound pretty good to me.

Badger are rarely seen during the day. The dominant male of the clan or boar will fight to maintain his status and if challenged by a lower ranking male will fight aggressively to hold his position. This fight will often end up with one of the badgers leaving and they will start their own clan. The characteristic ear and bottom bitten males will occasionally take refuge in hedges in the first instance before digging a sett, their powerful bodies and long claws make this digging easy work. Badgers live in woodland areas but often appear in the garden looking for food. They are creatures of habit and will take the same route on nightly outings. Their main diet is earthworms and these can often be found on pastures. They scratch the grass for bugs, grubs and larva that lay just below it's surface and have no respect for a well turned out lawn. They have been known to remove fences to get back into a garden. Such a determined action can only be in pursuit of food. Badger are omnivores and will eat cereal based dog food, meat, peanuts and fruit. Badgers are creatures of habit and if food is left regularly they will come to expect it and can be nuisance if you stop feeding.

As with all our wildlife they are scared of humans and history has taught them to flee but they can be observed from hides and often houses where food is laid to interest the badgers. In 1997 a survey estimated that there are about 50,000 social badger groups. Accounting for approximately 310,000 badgers. It’s estimated that 10,000 to 20,000 badgers die at the hands of diggers each year. Badger baiting was banned in 1835 but still exists today in many areas. It estimates some 30 - 40,000 get killed on the roads each year

 

Badgers in your Home

Anyone interested in  providing homes for orphaned cubs should contact us to discuss further. Badgers can be encouraged into your garden and synthetic setts can be built, these are used in relocation situations. Contact us for more details and advice on badgers.

 

Injured Badgers

If you find an injured or abandoned badger please contact a vet or your nearest wildlife rescue immediately. If you have a trapped badger do not approach it in a confined space they can be very aggressive and have very powerful jaws. A small cub can give a very nasty nip so be careful too if you need to take it to a vet or wildlife rescue you will need a safe strong box or call us and we will collect.

 

Badger Rescue and Rehabilitation

Each year we rescue and rehabilitate badger cubs and successfully release them back into the wild where they belong. We carefully survey and monitor any release sites to ensure that the area can accommodate a badger sett. We must ensure we don't interfere with the natural balance and that the sett is placed a determined distance form existing established setts. We are fortunate to have the support of some large landowners. We establish a location for next years setts this year to ensure all cubs have a home. We have been very successful in our release programs and our on going monitoring.

This information not only helps us to understand badgers but also gives us valuable information to improve our ongoing programs. There is a balance of care and duty to ensure these secretive and protected mammals are not only "human weary" but also have the ability to defend themselves from other badgers and are able to forage well. Our strict program allows for both. Not only is it successful but it is extremely rewarding. If you have a sick injured or abandoned badger cub please contact on the numbers provided on this site.

Badgers are very sociable and need to be kept in groups. When a cubs arrives with us we always try to ensure he has some playmates. Below shows the first cub of the season joining in with a small group of fox cubs. Badgers and foxes get on well and in the wild foxes have been know to have cubs in parts of the badgers sett.

 

Life Span: Live up to 14 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity.

Size: They range from 65-80cm, with varying weights between 8-12kg.

Physical description: Our eurasian badgers are easily recognizable by their stunning black and white stripes running from the nose to the shoulders. They are stocky animals with short black legs and silvery grey guard hairs on their backs. 

Distribution : Badgers range from Europe to Japan and S. China. In Britain, badgers are most abundant in south west England, Wales and small areas of north east England. 

Habitat: They generally prefer forest and grassland

Diet: Badgers feed on earthworms, frogs, rodents, birds, eggs, lizards, insects, bulbs, seeds and berries. 

Behaviour: Eurasian badgers are nocturnal and emerge from their setts at dusk. They live in family groups, or clans, of up to 12 individuals, which occupy a shared territory . In most other countries badgers live a solitary existence. The boundaries of the territories are marked out with odour and are defended. Badgers inhabit underground burrows called setts which consist of several chambers, passages and entrances and are used by successive generations of badgers. Nesting material is often carried out of the sett in the day and aired in the sunshine. They are gregarious and will indulge in playful romping, which helps to strengthen their social bonds.

Reproduction: Badgers exhibit a breeding phenomena known as delayed implantation, which means that they can breed at any time of the year. The purpose is to ensure that young are produced at a time when temperature and food conditions are at their optimum. After mating, they keep the fertilized eggs in the uterus in a state of suspended development until they are implanted in the uterine wall, usually after 10 months. After a further gestation period of 7-8 weeks, they give birth to a litter of 1-6 cubs.

Conservation status : Badgers are not considered endangered but numbers have been depleted. They are protected under various wildlife acts and UK law states that it is an offense to kill, injure or capture a badger, or to interfere with its sett. It is estimated that 50,000 badgers meet their deaths in Britain through road traffic accidents every year. Badgers are hunted legally and illegally in many of the countries they inhabit.

Protection of the Badger Act 1992 : The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 makes it an offense to kill or injure a badger (except under license); cruelly ill-treat a badger; use certain prohibited firearms; dig for a badger; damage or destroy a badger sett or obstruct access to it, or disturb a badger in it; cause a dog to enter a badger sett; and tag or mark any badger(except under license).

These are one of the largest of our native wildlife and like the rest need help to ensure their survival. They are full of character and loads of fun and mischief and this makes them fantastic viewing

We love badgers.

 

We need your help to carry on our work.

You can support us by donating here  CLICK HERE

You can donate much needed items to us directly by clicking on our wish list on Amazon .If you use our wish list please remember to add a comment so we can thank you. 

For list one click here: CLICK HERE

For list two click here: CLICK HERE

You can Text donate simply by texting ‘HAWR00 £5’ to 70070

For other ways to help us please go to our website CLICK HERE  

We really appreciate your support. Without you there would be no us.

Thank You from the Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue Team.

Roe Deer

Our native Roe Deer are amongst some of the most beautiful and graceful deer on the planet. they feed at dusk and dawn mostly and often through the cover of darkness. They have long since

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Capreolus capreolus, kid, hind, stag.

These beautiful, delicate looking and agile creatures are part of our countryside. If you are lucky enough to see them in the wild, it will probably only be a fleeting glance. They are

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Otter, Lutra lutra, Holt, Couch, Dog, Bitch, Welp, Pup, Bevy, Lodge, Romp 

These are one of the coolest mamals we have in the UK. After fighting off extinction, they are slowly returning to cleaner waterways throughout the UK. 

Otters are semi-aquatic mammals of the Mustelidae family and are related to stoats, weasels, skunks and badgers. 

They are sleek, streamlined swimmers with powerful jaws and sharp teeth. They have tapering bodies and tail, ideal for fast swimming. They are brown with paler under parts, short, strong legs and webbed feet, small ears and a broad flat head. Their ears, eyes and nostrils are set on top of head to help surface swimming.

The otter is very appealing, and extremly playful but few people ever see a wild otter in Britain. 

Until the 1950s, they could be found throughout most of the country but today they are very rare.

Otters were once hunted for their fur by dogs and were thought of as a pest, competing with fishermen for fish. In spite of these hunting pressures, otters were widespread throughout Britain and the population remained steady until the 1950s. It was at this point that they declined rapidly. 

The reason for the decline has been attributed to pollution and the clean up of waterways. Pollution caused by run off has been one of the main factors. Now, as we clear up our rivers, the otter is slowly coming back. Otters are very shy, solitary animals and need large territories. Males have a territory of around 40 km of riverbank. They mark their territory with droppings called spraints. Otters live in Holts that are often built away from the bank itself

The male otter (dog) has a head and body of up to 90cm (36 in) and a tail of 40 cm (16in); the female (bitch) is smaller. They range from 75cm (Asian Short-clawed) to 2.75m (Giant Brazilian).

Their life span in the wild is around 9-10 years in the wild; many have lived to be 20 in captivity.

Their diet is mainly fish. Eels are a favourite but its menu includes salmon, trout, hapless water birds, courting frogs and the occasional rabbit. They have a keen sense of smell and sharp hearing on land. In clear water, they can spot prey with their eyes and in murky waters their whiskers detect the twitching of fish.

The European otter lives near water, whether it is the rivers or the sea. They live in dens known as holts and mark their territories, which may cover many kilometers of river, with distinctive piles of spraint - otter poo. 

The Eurasian otter exists in scattered populations in the British Isles. They are found mainly on the coast of Scotland and Ireland, along the Welsh borders, the South-West and East Anglia.

Otters are mainly nocturnal and hunt in open, marshy places, rivers, lakes, seashores and estuaries. They will often travel a long way over land, from one river system to another, in search of food. They are strong, agile swimmers and catch fish by chasing them underwater. They grip the prey with sharp teeth and powerful jaws, carrying the catch ashore to eat it. An adult otter needs to eat 20% of its body weight in food every day - about 2.5kg. In undisturbed areas an otter often spends part of the day playing away from water, near to a 'lying up' den, which is usually under riverside tree roots.

An otter grooms itself frequently and this keeps its coat sleek and waterproof. The coat's long, stiff guard hairs are covered with oil to repel water. The thick under fur traps an insulating layer of air and the skin never gets wet.

Otters breed throughout the year. The dog and bitch live separate lives, meeting only for mating. Usually there are two or more females living in a male's territory and when they are receptive, he will mate with all of them. They find each other by scent and by whistling. The two often playfully chase each other and pretend to fight.

The gestation period is about 62 days and during this time the bitch builds a holt, an underground burrow, often under the roots of a waterside tree. In Scotland, where otters frequent seashores and lochs, the holt may be in a more open space such as a rocky cairn. The holt is lined with grass or moss and this is where a litter of two or three cubs is born. At birth they are about 12cm in length and are covered in very fine grey fur; their eyes open when they are four - five weeks old. The cubs are helpless for the first 6 weeks of their lives, relying entirely on their mother's milk. The mother drives the father away as soon as the cubs are born and he plays no part in their upbringing. Coastal otters need access to freshwater pools to wash. The cubs develop an adult waterproof coat at two or three months and this is when their mother teaches them to swim. To begin with, they are often reluctant to go into the water and may have to be pushed in! An otter family is very playful and enjoys sliding games, using a steep snowy or muddy river bank to toboggan down on their chests, forepaws tucked in! The young soon become proficient underwater hunters and the family splits up when the cubs are about a year old. They may stay on in the mother's territory for a few more months and then leave to look for territories of their own.

The use of pesticides were greatly increased during the 1950s, mainly aldrin and dieldrin. These were then washed off the land into rivers etc. and contaminated fish with tiny amounts of poison. Even though the fish may not be affected, the poison gradually accumulates in an otter eating a lot of fish, resulting in its death. Although most of these pesticides have been restricted since 1962, otter numbers have not increased a great deal since.

Otters have been protected by law since 1981. In September 2004, a dead dog otter was found on a railway line in Frimley in Surrey, which we guessed had been electrocuted as it crossed the line. It may have been dead but it was the first positive sighting of an otter for over 45 years in this area. 

Otters disappeared from the South-East in the early 70s and in recent years, work has been carried out to try and get them to recolonise their former sites.

In the past few years they have returned to both the Rivers Thames and Loddon, and as the Blackwater is a tributary of the Loddon, it was only a question of time before otters would find their way into the Blackwater and start moving upstream.

When the dead otter was found Steve Bailey, Manager of the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership, had this to say, “This is great news. The river was once in a terrible condition and many organisations have put in a lot of hard work over a long period to return it to a state where it now supports an abundance of wildlife. Otters can only survive in a healthy river system, so the fact that an otter has been found in the Valley indicates the river is ‘complete’ once again.”.

East Anglia is one of the remaining strongholds of otters; conservationists there are breeding them in captivity and releasing them into the wild. Special otter havens have been established by landowners in co-operation with conservationists. Some artificial holts have been built where natural cover is inadequate and unpolluted water. There are signs that these measures will help to re-establish otter populations in at least some of their former haunts.

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