British Wildlife Centre: part 2

This is part 2 of a few posts from the British Wildlife Centre. Click here to read part 1.

After the birds and the squirrels, we decided to head on and have a look at some of the larger mammals at the centre.

The first of these mammals was the Scottish Wildcat. Scottish Wildcats are native to Britain, and have outlived wolves, lynx and bears in this country, so they're pretty impressive animals. Unfortunately though, their future is uncertain. Being very shy animals, they are very wary of humans, but as we invade their habitat, they end up coming into contact with us. Wildcats end up breeding with our domestic cats, producing hybrids which are no longer pure Scottish Wildcats. Slowly the population is becoming less pure, and soon there may be no true Scottish Wildcats left. It was great to see one at the centre, although it most likely wasn't pure, as there could be as little as 400 true wildcats left. It also had quite a lot of white on its body, meaning it is probably slightly hybridised.

After the Scottish Wildcat enclosure, we moved on to the Otters. The British Wildlife Centre has 4 otters living in large ponds towards the edge of the park. The Otters all looked very healthy, and it was a brilliant opportunity to see these animals up close. I have seen them in the wild before, such as in the Outer Hebrides, but you really get to appreciate them when they're so close. Being so close, their were lots of photo opportunities, so here are a few of the many photos.

Sleepy Otter

We continued on round after visiting the Otters, and reached our next large mammal enclosure, which was home to Red Foxes. We arrived just as a keeper talk was starting, so the foxes were out in the open, and in clear view. These foxes were, like the Otters, looking very healthy, and their coats were a brilliant red colour that glinted in the sunlight. It reminded me that we have our fair share of exotic looking animals right here in Britain, and that we should cherish that.

As well as the mammals, there was also a collection amphibians and reptiles at the centre. One of these was the Adder. It took us quite a while to locate the adders in their enclosure, but eventually we saw them in amongst a pile of logs. There was one bigger one that was almost completely hidden, but there were also (we think) two smaller adders in the enclosure as well. One of these gave us a brilliant view of its head and pattern on its back as it basked in the sun.


The centre was also home to a Marsh Frog. These frogs are again an introduced species to this country. They were first introduced to Kent, and have since spread to Sussex and parts of Surrey. There have also been other local introductions in parts of South and West London.

Marsh Frog

The British Wildlife Centre is a truly great place, which allows visitors to discover some of Britain's best wildlife, and really experience them up close. But there are still two species that I have missed out, so keep posted for the final blog from the centre, featuring my favourite animals on show: the Polecat and the Harvest Mouse.

Thank you for reading.


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