Mammals

Mammals include some of the largest and most easily recognisable of animal species. They are warm-blooded, have fur and produce milk to feed their live young.

According to the Mammal Society there are about 70 resident terrestrial mammals in the British Isles, around half of which are found in the Highlands. Many of them are legally protected, including 11 of the species found on Dundreggan.

 

Total species recorded on Dundreggan: 22

 
 
 
 
 
 


* = Trees for Life Species Profile


Order: Artiodactyla (Even-toed ungulates)

This group includes deer, sheep, cattle and pigs. They are generally large animals, many of which are, or have been, hunted or farmed by man for their meat, milk and fur. They are mostly herbivores but some are omnivorous.

 

Cervus elaphus

Cervidae (Deer)

All male deer have antlers which they grow and shed each year. These are formed as spongy tissue under skin called "velvet". Before the autumn mating season this tissue hardens and becomes bone. When deer rub their antlers against trees to shed the velvet, the resulting damage to the trees is very recognisable.

Unlike other ruminants deer will selectively forage easily digestible material such as young shoots and leaves, causing them to have a detrimental effect on plant growth if they are present in unnaturally high numbers.

Common Name

Roe deer

Red deer*

Sika deer

Scientific Name

Capreolus capreolus

Cervus elaphus

Cervus nippon

 

   back to top

Sus scrofa

Suidae (Pigs and boars)

Suids are intelligent animals and include domestic pigs. They have enlarged canine teeth which form prominent tusks. The adult females travel in a group with their young, whilst the larger males are generally solitary. They are omnivorous with a varied diet including roots, leaves, insects, small animals and carrion.

Common Name

Wild boar*

Scientific Name

Sus scrofa

    back to top


Order: Carnivora (Carnivores)

Carnivores are meat-eating mammals equipped with a pair of sharp, pointed canine teeth in both the upper and lower jaws. There are three familes in the UK - Felidae (cats), Canidae (dogs) and Mustelidae (weasels).

Lutra lutra

Mustelidae (Badgers, otters, weasels and martens)

Mustelids are typically fairly small mammals with short legs, short round ears and thick fur. They are solitary, mostly nocturnal animals which are active all year round. They produce a strong smelling secretion from anal scent glands which is used for marking territory and sexual signalling.

Common Name

Otter*

Pine marten*

Badger*

Weasel

American mink

Scientific Name

Lutra lutra

Martes martes

Meles meles

Mustela nivalis

Neovison vison

 

 

 

  back to top

Vulpes vulpes

Canidae (Wolves and foxes)

This family, which includes the domestic dog, are social animals which hold and defend territories. They all have long muzzles and a bald tip to their nose, long legs and bushy tails. Only one species is resident in the UK.

Common Name

Red fox

Scientific Name

Vulpes vulpes

 

 

  back to top


Order: Chiroptera (Bats)

Bats have webbed forelegs as wings and are the only mammals capable of true, sustained flight. They hunt at night and all of the UK species use echo location to find their insect prey. They hibernate during the winter in communal roosts, either in crevices in trees, caves or sometimes buildings. Of the 17 species breeding in the UK, nine are found in Scotland, and four are Dundreggan residents, all of which are protected by law.

 

Pipistrellus pygmaeus

Vespertilionidae (Common bats)

This family includes all the UK species apart from the Horseshoe bats. They range in size from the Pipistrelle, at only 4 cm and 5 grams, to the Noctule at 8 cm and 40 grams. They are most often identified by their distinctive calls which can be picked up by a device called a bat detector.

Common Name

Daubenton's bat

Common pipistrelle bat

Soprano pipistrelle bat

Brown long-eared bat

Scientific Name

Myotis daubentonii

Pipistrellus pipistrellus

Pipistrellus pygmaeus

Plecotus auritus

 

 

 back to top


Order: Lagomorpha (Rabbits and hares)

This is a small group with only three species in Scotland which all look similar to each other. They move by using their strong hind legs to hop forward, landing on their smaller front feet. They are all herbivorous.

Lepus timidus

Leporidae (Rabbits and hares)

Rabbits dig burrows for shelter in which they give birth to young "kits" which are naked and blind. By contrast, hares rarely dig any kind of shelter and their young "leverets" are born fully developed with fur and open eyes. They can all have several litters a year which means when resources are plentiful there can be population explosions.

Leporids form an important food source for many carnivores and large birds of prey.

Common Name

Mountain hare

Scientific Name

Lepus timidus

 

 

  back to top


Order: Rodentia (Rodents)

Rodents are relatively small mammals which eat seeds and other plant material. They have a single pair of continuously growing incisors in both their upper and lower jaws.

Arvicola amphibius

Muridae (Mice, rats and voles)

This is the largest family of all mammals, with over 1,000 known species worldwide. They have long, thin tails which are hairless.

Mice and rats usually have pointed snouts whereas voles have more rounded snouts.

Common Name

Wood mouse

Water vole

Bank vole

Field vole

Scientific Name

Apodemus sylvaticus

Arvicola amphibius

Myodes glareolus

Microtus agrestis

 

  back to top

Sciurus vulgaris

Sciuridae (Squirrels)

There is one native species in the UK (red squirrel) and one introduced species (grey squirrel). The larger grey outcompetes the red and also carries a disease which kills the red; as a result the red is now restricted to northern parts of Scotland and small, isolated populations in England and Wales.

Unlike most mammals, squirrels can go down trees head first, by turning the ankles on their rear legs to point up the tree and provide grip.

Common Name

Red Squirrel*

Scientific Name

Sciurus vulgaris

 

  back to top


Order: Soricomorpha (Insectivores)

This group feeds mainly on insects and other invertebrates. Most are small with short legs and relatively long pointed noses. They have poor vision but an excellent sense of smell. There are three families in the UK - moles, hedgehogs and shrews.

 

Sorex araneus

Soricidae (Shrews)

Shrews look superficially like mice but have pointed, spike-like teeth rather than the gnawing incisors found in rodents.

There are three species native to the mainland UK and a further two island species.

Common Name

Common shrew

Scientific Name

Sorex araneus

 

   back to top

Talpa europaea

Talpidae (Moles)

There is only one member of this family in the UK. It leads a subterranean life and is rarely seen, usually only being noted by the distinctive mole-hills it produces in fields and lawns formed from the earth it removes when digging tunnels. It has very poor eyesight and uses touch as its main sense to find its main prey of earthworms.

Common Name

Mole

Scientific Name

Talpa europaea

 

  back to top


Stay connected

Sign up to our newsletter and we will send you a monthly update of news and events at Trees for Life