Highland Wildlife

The Fox
(Vulpes vulpes) Fox

Foxes are very numerous in Scotland, but sadly to say they are hunted and shot by man to an average of about 50,000 a year, but this carnage seems to make no difference to the population. They are mainly a nocturnal animal who live in a den or earth. Following the mating season, a vixen can have a litter of three to eight cubs in March or April. The dog fox, or Tod as he is known in Scotland feeds the female while she is rearing the cubs.







The Polecat
(Mustela putorius)
Polecat


The Polecat is extinct in Scotland since 1907 but it has been suggested that a few were still alive in the late 1960's but that has never been proved. Their habitat included woodland, marsh, river banks and plantations. The polecat was carnivorous and its prey included hare, rabbit, small mammals and hedgehogs.




The Badger
(Meles meles)
Badger

In Scotland, Badgers live in woodlands, banks and sometimes fields. Their homes are called setts and consist of extensive tunnels and chambers. The badger is thinly scattered in Scotland and despite their size the setts can be easily overlooked in sparsely populated areas such as the Highlands. Usually in February the sow can have two or three cubs.







The Hedgehog
(Erinaceus europaeus)
Hedgehog


The only spiny mammal in Scotland and the only one that truly hibernates is the Hedgehog. Though one of our best known animals, it is rarely seen because it is nocturnal. They are found over most of mainland Scotland although absent from large areas of moorland. Their main habitat is all types of woodland or scrub, including parks and gardens where they are sometimes quite common.





The Adder
(Vipera berus)
Adder

The Adder is the only poisonous snake to be found in Britain and whilst medical treatment is required a bite is rarely serious unless someone is allergic to the venom. Adders are found in a variety of dry or damp places such as moorland or scrub covered hillsides but they are fairly localised. although there is evidence of a decline in the Adder in Scotland, decrease in habitat and pointless predation by man are the reasons, there was a great debate as to whether it should be given protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and it was not fully protected until 1991. The other name for the Adder is 'Viper' after its viviparous nature of being a live bearer.



Back to Page 1...

Back to Ness-Scape..