Mammals

Credits: Badger - Wildstock

When dinosaurs roamed the earth, the very first mammals scurried around beneath their massive feet. Many went the way of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago, but a few survived. And we’re living proof of their success – humans are mammals too!

All mammals have a backbone and are warm-blooded, but their most special feature is that they can feed their young with milk from mammary glands (like the udders on a cow). Mammals also have sweat glands and furry bodies, but some, like naked mole rats and whales (and humans!), have lost nearly all their hair.

We've got lots of furry beasts in the UK to look out for. Our biggest mammal is the red deer – easily spotted by its silky red coat and the massive antlers sported by the males. These awesome horns are used for fighting over the chance to cosy-up with an attractive doe during autumn.

One of our most loveable mammals is the otter with its blunt nose, small ears and pointed tail. Coming out at night makes it rather hard to see but look out for the signs it’s been around – its poo (called ‘spraint’) and footprints are tell-tale signs that there’s been a ‘padfoot’ (an old name for otters) along the riverbank.

Smaller mammals you might spot when you’re out and about in the countryside are the wily weasel and stocky stoat (to tell them apart, look for the black tip on the end of the stoats tail). And, as night draws in, look up to the sky to see bats flitting about as they chase moths in the dark.

But the mammals you are most likely to see are those that venture into your back garden. Why not set up a night-vigil to look out for foxes, badgers and hedgehogs? Entice them into the garden with tit-bits and enjoy the show from the comfort of your own home!

 

Did you know?


Otter poo smells like jasmine tea!