British Wildlife Centre: Cat and Mouse

Whilst at the British Wildlife Centre, there were two animals that particularly caught my eye. I had never seen either of them in Britain before, so I was instantly interested, and wanted to find out more.

The first of these animals is the European Polecat. When we first arrived at the enclosure, we could see nothing, much like some of the others. But very soon after we first looked in, we saw a little head poke out from a tunnel. The Polecat looked like it had just been sleeping, and had popped out to see what was going on. In the sunlight, the animal, even though we could see just the head, looked brilliant.

Sleepy Polecat

I had heard of these animals before but never properly seen one. They are native to Britain, and were once widespread across the country, but were almost exterminated in the 1900s due to trapping and other forms of prosecution. By the late 20th century though, they had made a return to many parts of Southern England and Wales. Now that these mammals are making a comeback, it seems that they are likely to recolonise a lot of mainland Britain.

Polecats prefer lowland areas, which is why they're only found in a few locations in Scotland, and not much in Cumbria and more of Northern England. Farms are ideal homes for these small animals, but they're also found in forests. 

After a while, the polecat came right out into the open to investigate us further. This gave us a great view of the whole animal, and it was smaller than I expected. Its fur was perfectly clean, and glinted in the sunlight as it sat out on a rock in the middle of its enclosure.

But if I thought the polecat was small, the next animal makes the polecat look like a giant. We moved on into the indoor section of the centre, and came across an enclosure belonging to a Harvest Mouse. We thought we had no chance of seeing it, but we were in luck. The mouse was sat on what looked like its nest, cleaning itself. And it was absolutely tiny. Harvest Mice measure just 5cm, and weigh just 4g, and this one was no different.

Harvest Mouse

I decided to stay for a bit, and try to film the little mouse going about its business. It cleaned itself, and clambered right down the front of the enclosure to feed. This animal is very difficult to see in the wild, so getting a proper look at it was great.

The British Wildlife Centre is a great place to see many native UK species that we otherwise would rarely see, so I thoroughly recommend visiting if you're ever in the area.

Thank you for reading this post, and, if you haven't already, be sure to have a look at the other two posts from the British Wildlife Centre.


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