Welcome to the Winter Issue of The Mammal Next Door!
Winter in the UK is usually wet and cold with very little snow, oh unless you live in North England or Scotland, (you lucky things!).
Many mammals struggle at this time of year as food can be scarce; with insects, reptiles and amphibians having tucked themselves away to hibernate, many bird species having flown away to warmer places and very little food being produced by trees in the form of energy-rich nuts and berries.
The mammals in the UK have two options during winter, they can forage for food on a daily basis or they can hibernate during this lean period. Some mammals (dormouse, bats, hedgehogs) have adapted to this hibernating strategy. The majority of our mammals however have adapted to the foraging strategy and will be out foraging for food on a daily basis. The squirrels who buried nuts in autumn can be seen in local parks trying to locate their caches, weasels and stoats are out hunting for rabbits and field voles continue to scurry around their home ranges feeding on grass day and night.
The muddy conditions that UK winters provide mean mammal footprints can be easily detected with keen eyes and if you are lucky enough to have snow, investigating your garden could let you know who has visited over night; a cat, a dog, a fox or a badger!
In this issue we have the life of the hedgehog as our Mammal Hero, The Family Tree is about Chiroptera and our Landscape of the Season is Uplands Coniferous Forest.