Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Goodbye to Rich


Last week we said goodbye to one of our keepers, Richard. Rich arrived for his third spell of work here about a year and a half ago, but has been with us on and off in between his many travels around the world, for the past ten years.

Rich has been a valued member of our keeping team over the years, and has helped the Centre to continue to grow and inspire many visitors about the wildlife living all around us... including his favourite, the tabby cats... er, I mean, Wildcats.

Rich has now decided it is time to move on and further his career, learn new skills, and pass on his knowledge to a new audience. He is going back to college! But this time as a lecturer to train young aspiring students in animal handling.

We all wish you the very best Rich, don't forget about British wildlife, and maybe bring your future groups to the Centre to show them around.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Summer Update


It has been a busy old summer for us this year, lots of visitors, lots of young animals around, lots of new changes taking place or at least planned for the future and new faces around the place helping to look after it all.

We have had a very successful year in terms of baby animals, and it may not be over yet... we have just started to introduce our new weasels together in the hope that they may have a late litter this year, and once again we have put our pine martens together in the hopes of kits next spring!



Our current youngsters are all doing extremely well. We have been able to extend our releases on our reserve this year with both the harvest mice and water voles. Red squirrels are in preparation for their release in the autumn as are our two litters of polecats. Plus many more little ones being the centre of attention with the visitors, including our new baby adders and still a favourite our otter cubs from the end of last year... Dolores and Bernard.



We have plenty of plans of for the future too, many of which we hope to put in place over this coming winter. A lot of general up keep, but a few new things for you to see too. We will keep you updated with progress of course, but one thing you probably have seen already if you have visited in recent weeks is the extension to our badger sett.

We are extending the outside part of their run by double the size, and giving them access to it via a tunnel under the walkway. This will give them a lot more space, and allow us to introduce the cubs to our main group. At the moment it looks a bit like a building site, but in a couple of weeks it will be landscaped and grassed with a few small trees planted. After some time for it to all take and settle, it will be opened up for the cubs.

Oh and how could I forget, another new venture coming soon...


video

"It's virtual reality, it's the future!" David F Mills

Friday, 11 August 2017

Adder Babies


To some they may not be the cutest, but to me they are still adorable... Adder Babies!!!

Earlier this year we had the dancing between the males, and the mating of both females. This doesn't always mean there will be a litter of youngsters, and usually it is every two or three years that the females will reproduce, but with our last litter two years a go and one of our females growing in size rapidly over the early summer, we thought this may be a year of little ones.

Sure enough, yesterday saw the first ones being born. We have only seen 3 at the same time, but there may well be more with female adders often having up in to double figures in one litter.



Baby adders are usually called "Neonates", but I prefer the more endearing "Adderlings". I haven't been able to get photos of this years yet, so these are from our last litter.

Unlike many reptiles, adders give birth to live young... or at least appear to depending on how technical we want to get. In essence they emerge from the mother in a very soft membranous sac which they quickly escape from. They are tiny in size, but perfectly formed like a mini adult. Difficult to see in the first photo, but in the one above you get a better idea of scale (pun fully intended) of the youngster pictured against the scales of the mother.

Venomous and independent from day one, extra care is now taken when cutting the grass in their enclosure. They are so small they are difficult to spot, so take some extra time looking when you are next here if you are hoping to see them.



Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Photo of the Month: July 2017

"The mouse, the fly and the teasel" by Helen Haden 

Another month of an amazing amount of photographs being sent in and shared, many of which were taken on our members evening on the very 1st day of the month, and many of those being of our harvest mice... so no surprises that we have picked out a few of these to show you.

Of them all though we went with the photo above taken by Helen Haden of one of our harvest mice during members evening. If you look close enough, you will see a surprise model in the picture with a little fly sitting on part of the teasel, brilliant!

Some more fantastic pictures to share with you below, many of our harvest mice, most from our members evening at the beginning of the month, and one of those being of our very fast pine marten Drogo. Brilliant work to get him standing still for a second. As always, click on the link in the photographer names to see more photos by them.


"Sweet little harvest mouse" by Ros Wood 


"Harvest Mouse" by Sarah Louise Orme


"Pine Marten" by Lillian


"Weasel" by Gary K Mann
As with every months photo pick, Helen's photo will be part of our coffee shop gallery next year and be in with a chance of winning Helen a photo day here at the Centre.