Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Badger Cubs


What a hectic few weeks... This year it seems that a lot of things has happened at once, and we are only just about catching up with ourselves. This means a lot of news to share with you all, and hopefully I will be able to bowl a bountiful of blog posts your way over the coming weeks... that is if we get our electricity back! But that's a tale for another time. 

So where shall I start. A lot happens behind the scenes here at the Centre, and I think it is sometimes nice to share some of these stories as well. A couple of weeks a go we had a couple of badger cubs brought in to us. They were on death's door, had obviously been out alone and abandoned for a night or two, completely dehydrated, stone cold and covered in more fleas and ticks than probably all us keepers put together had seen before. 




Most of you will be aware that we do not advertise as a rescue centre, and usually pass animals that come to us on to dedicated rescue centres, but these two cubs needed immediate attention and a lot of luck! So we kept them here to look after.

After a long night, they were finally showing some good signs, and another day saw them begin to feed well from the bottle. They are now going from strength to strength, and are beginning to begin the weaning process.



They currently live off display where we can keep them quiet and keep a close eye on them, but they do venture out in to the Dell every so often to wander around, explore... and of course DIG! so if you see any muddy divots in there at the weekend, you now know why!

More new arrivals to announce soon, and of course half term next week too... could be a good week to visit!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Photo of the Month: April 2017

"Ted and Basil" by Dave Burden

A lot has happened over the past month... Drogo being a star for the pine marten talk, long-eared owl chicks, Drogo loving his role for the pine marten talk, red squirrel kittens, a new emerging favourite for the pine marten talk, heron chicks, dancing adders, oh... and did I mention Drogo, he is really relishing his new role as being one of our main pine martens for the afternoon talks!

Lots of photographs showing all these things have been sent and and shared over the internet, but I chose the photo above by Dave Burden to be April's photo of the month. What a great moment to capture!

And below are some other favourites from the last few weeks...


"Heron Chicks" by Bobs Photography

"Dancing Adders" by Moi Hicks

"Harvest Mouse" by Lisa Clark

"Hedgehog" by Andre Neves

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Red Squirrel Kittens


The first of the red squirrel kittens born in our walk through enclosure have stated to explore! They are around 7 weeks old, and beginning to stretch their legs and look outside of their drey. Over the next few days and weeks they will continue to look around and play, and even venture further from their home to see what the rest of the Copse has to offer. Growing up with the other squirrels, they will no doubt become as friendly as the others, and given time may well turn up for the talk every morning at 10.30am



As well as our walk through enclosure, we have several breeding pens off display where we house squirrels for our breeding and release programs. Along with a few litters at other sites, we have a few here too which well be part of a release later this year on to another island. More news on this when the time comes.


Monday, 24 April 2017

Long-Eared Owl Chicks


Do you remember Leo and Percy? Well there mum and dad have done it again... another clutch of eggs, and this time three successful chicks were hatched! Meet (from right to left above) Megatron, Starscream and Ironhide.

Last year our long eared owls had one chick in the Spring, and a second later in the Summer. So who knows, after these three above they may well have another clutch later this year too.



These long eared owl chicks are now about 3 weeks old for the oldest, with the other two a few days younger. Within a clutch you usually get the eggs hatching a day or two apart from each other, and you can see the size difference of these in the photo at the top.

We have taken these chicks to be creche reared together before finding their new homes. They are being looked after by the keepers, who are getting them used to people, various noises and the ways of life. They will then be friendly owls ready anything their new homes throw at them.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

First 2017 Releases


This past week was the annual Common Dormouse Captive Breeders Group (CDCBG) meeting. As well as discussing all things domousey, it was a chance for the group to collect up all the dormice bred last year for the annual release. 

We had a very successful year last year, and all our youngsters came with us to the meeting to be handed over to the quarantine team. Both London Zoo and Paignton Zoo take the dormice to be checked over before release later in the year, co-ordinated by the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species (PTES). 



As well as our dormice preparing for their release, we had our first release of harvest mice on home soil! With the warmer Spring in full flow, we were finally able to release the many we had been keeping safe over the Winter months.

We breed several harvest mice each year, and have slowly been releasing them around our reserve. Last year we found several signs, including nests, to show they are settling in well and really making a home for themselves out there.

More animal news over the coming weeks, including some new arrivals!