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Title: Animal Life of the British Isles - A Pocket Guide to the Mammals, Reptiles and Batrachians - of Wayside and Woodland
Author: Step, Edward
Language: English
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  THE WAYSIDE
  AND WOODLAND
  SERIES


  ANIMAL LIFE
  OF
  THE BRITISH ISLES



  [Illustration: _Pl. 1._ _Frontispiece._
    *Hedgehog preparing to attack Grass Snake.*]



  ANIMAL LIFE
  OF THE
  BRITISH ISLES

  A POCKET GUIDE TO THE
  MAMMALS, REPTILES AND BATRACHIANS
  OF WAYSIDE AND WOODLAND

  BY
  EDWARD STEP, F.L.S.

  AUTHOR OF
  "WAYSIDE AND WOODLAND TREES"
  "WAYSIDE AND WOODLAND BLOSSOMS," ETC., ETC.

  WITH
  111 PLATES FROM PHOTOGRAPHS
  INCLUDING 48 IN COLOUR
  BY W. J. STOKOE

  LONDON
  FREDERICK WARNE & CO. LTD.
  AND NEW YORK
  1921



    "The lusty life of wood and underwood,
    .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .
    The tawny Squirrel vaulting through the boughs,
    The Deer, the high-back'd Polecat, the Wild Boar,
    The burrowing Badger."

    TENNYSON, _The Foresters_.


    PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN



PREFACE


It is unnecessary to say much by way of Preface to the present volume,
the series of popular handbooks of which it forms part being so widely
known to Nature-lovers. The same methods of treatment that were followed
in the previous volumes have been pursued here, though the smaller
number of species falling within its scope has allowed a fuller
consideration of each.

With the exception of the birds (dealt with in Mr. Coward's companion
volumes), all the terrestrial animals endowed with a bony framework are
included. There are, indeed, a few other native mammals that might have
been described; but as they are restricted to the sea it was felt to be
undesirable to include their life-histories in the "Wayside and Woodland
Series."

The Author and Publishers desire to express their thanks to the
undermentioned naturalist photographers who have contributed their
admirable work for reproduction, viz.: Mr. Douglas English, F.Z.S., for
Plates 1, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27, 37 to 41,
46, 47, 48, 50, 53 to 62, 65, 66, 69, 70, 71, 75, 84, 89, 90, 93, 96,
97, 98, 101, 103, 104, 105, and the lower photograph on Plate 109. To
Mr. Oxley Grabham for Plates 3, 4, 7, 8, 21, 24, 28, 30, 32, 43, 49,
52, 63, 85, 94, 95, and 107. Mr. Riley Fortune for Plates 16, 19, 33,
45, 51, 77 to 80, 82, and 88. Mr. Charles Reid for Plates 2, 34, 35, 42,
64, 73, 76, and 83. Mr. Stanley C. Johnson, B.A., for Plates 92, 99,
100, 106, 108, 110, 111, and the upper subject on Plate 109. Mr. E. W.
Taylor for Plates 18, 86, and 91.

The Author's own contribution consists of Plates 9, 13, 22, 29, 31, 36,
44, 67, 68, 72, 74, and 87.

The appearance of 48 of these photographs in the natural colours is due
to the skilful work of Mr. W. J. Stokoe.



  CONTENTS
                                                          PAGE

  PREFACE                                                    v

  INTRODUCTORY                                               1

  INSECT-EATERS: MOLE, SHREWS, AND HEDGEHOG                  9

  FLYING MAMMALS: BATS                                      30

  FLESH-EATERS: FOX, BADGER, OTTER, WEASELS, MARTENS,
    AND WILD CAT                                            52

  GNAWING ANIMALS: RABBIT, HARES, DORMOUSE, VOLES,
    MICE, RATS, AND SQUIRRELS                               78

  HOOFED ANIMALS: RED DEER, FALLOW DEER, AND ROE
    DEER                                                   124

  LIZARDS AND SLOW-WORM                                    136

  SNAKES                                                   146

  AMPHIBIOUS ANIMALS: FROGS, TOADS, AND NEWTS              157

  CLASSIFIED INDEX TO ORDERS, GENERA, AND SPECIES          179

  GENERAL INDEX                                            181



INTRODUCTORY


Apart from the birds and the fishes, the vertebrates or backboned
animals of the British Islands constitute a very select group. Within
the historical period several former notable members of that company
have ceased to be represented in the freedom of nature in this country,
and their forms can be studied only in museums and zoological gardens.
Although we have to regret the absence from our list of the Beaver and
the Wild Boar, the Ure-ox and the Short-horned Wild Ox, the Brown Bear
and the savage Wolf, there are still sufficient of our vertebrates left
to give a zest to the observations of the rambler in the woodlands, over
the mountains and along the quiet waysides and streams of our country.

To observe these mammals, reptiles, and batrachians we must go afoot:
the bicycle or the motor-car is of use only to convey us quickly out
of town to appropriate localities in the open country. Arrived there,
quietness must be the order of the day--the footfall light and the voice
lowered in conversation if there are two or more in company. The sitter
will see far more than the man who wants to perambulate the entire
wood or explore the acreage of moorland. A comfortable seat having been
chosen with deliberation for the view it affords of a wood margin, a
hillside, or stream curve, according to the habits of the creatures we
are hoping to see, the field-glass should be brought into requisition,
and every inch of the field of vision carefully and repeatedly scanned.
The movement of a grass-blade, the trembling of a fern frond or the
rustling of a dead leaf will often indicate the precise spot to be
watched. It will be understood that as most of these creatures are more
or less nocturnal in their activities, observation must be continued
until sometime after dusk at least, in order to be successful.

If the observer is new to this work, he should endeavour, if
possible--on the first occasion at least--to get as companion a friend
who has already some experience of field-work. A day with such a
companion will do more to open his eyes than a whole chapter of printed
hints; for it is as true to-day as it was in 1855, when Charles Kingsley
wrote in his "Glaucus"--"The greatest difficulty in the way of beginners
is (as in most things) to 'learn the art of learning.' They go out,
search, find less than they expected, and give the subject up in
disappointment. It is good to begin, therefore, if possible by playing
the part of 'jackal' to some practised naturalist, who will show the
tyro where to look, what to look for, and, moreover, what it is that he
has found: often no easy matter to discover." On that last point the
"Wayside and Woodland Series" has done much to simplify matters.

Respecting the utility of taking an interest in these fellow inhabitants
of our country, one of the intellectual giants[A] of the Victorian
Age described Natural History "as the greatest of all sources of that
pleasure which is derivable from beauty. I do not pretend," he says,
"that natural history knowledge, as such, can increase our sense of
the beautiful in natural objects. I do not suppose that the dead soul
of Peter Bell, of whom the great poet of nature says--

    "'A primrose by the river's brim,
     A yellow primrose was to him--
     And it was nothing more,'

would have been a whit roused from its apathy by the information that
the primrose is a Dicotyledonous Exogen with a monopetalous corolla
and central placentation. But I advocate natural history knowledge
from this point of view, because it would lead us to _seek_ the beauties
of natural objects, instead of trusting to chance to force them on our
attention. To a person uninstructed in natural history, his country or
sea-side stroll is a walk through a gallery filled with wonderful works
of art, nine-tenths of which have their faces turned to the wall. Teach
him something of natural history, and you place in his hands a catalogue
of those which are worth turning round. Surely our innocent pleasures
are not so abundant in this life that we can afford to despise this or
any other source of them. We should fear being banished for our neglect
to that limbo, where the great Florentine tells us are those who during
this life 'wept when they might be joyful.'"

  [Footnote A: Huxley.]

Some of the species described have a very limited range in our country
at present, the Deer, for example, being restricted as wild animals
to-day to the Scottish mountains and glens and the West Country moors,
but even these may be studied as tolerably free animals in the New
Forest, Epping Forest, and in many parks such as those at Windsor
and Richmond, as well as in private domains. To the Deer we must add
the Wild Cat, the Pine Marten, and the Alpine Hare as mammals that
must be sought in special restricted areas; but most of the others
may be reckoned to be met with, sooner rather than later, in our
country rambles.

In view of the practice usual in natural histories of arranging the
vertebrate animals in a series with the Birds separating the Mammals
from the Reptiles, it may at first sight appear incongruous to bring
the latter classes together as we have done; but to the present writer
the fitness of this arrangement is quite clear. It is widely held
that the Mammalia--the highest class of vertebrates, and therefore
the most complex of all animals--have been evolved from an extinct
group (_Theromorpha_) of Reptiles, whose remains are found in strata
of the Permian and Jurassic Periods. There are, it is true, similar
evidences furnished by the rocks showing that the Birds had a reptilian
origin; but the Birds did not form an evolutionary stage between the
Reptile and the Mammal, but evolved side by side with the latter.

The existing British Mammals represent the six orders Insectivora
(shrews, mole, and hedgehog), Chiroptera (bats), Carnivora (beasts
of prey), Rodentia (gnawing animals), Cetacea (whales and dolphins),
and Ungulata (hoofed animals). These all agree with the Reptiles and
Batrachians in having a many-jointed internal skeleton, a bony framework
giving support to a system of powerful muscles; and of this framework
the most important feature is the long backbone or vertebral column
consisting of a number of bony rings jointed together by outgrowths
or "processes," and held in position by strong ligaments. This
attachment of the rings by their flat surfaces produces the spine or
vertebral column, with a canal on its upper half in which lies the
spinal cord. This column, for descriptive purposes, is divided into
regions--cervical, dorsal, lumbar, sacral, and caudal. The number of
rings or vertebræ in each region varies somewhat in the different
classes and orders, but as a rule the cervical or neck vertebræ are
seven; the dorsal, to which the ribs are connected, are about thirteen
(extreme numbers are nine and twenty-two); the vertebræ of the lumbar or
loin region are usually six or seven, but they vary inversely to those
of the dorsal from two to twenty-three; the sacral vertebræ (about five)
are in the adult fused together into a solid bone (sacrum) of triangular
shape; the caudal vertebræ vary from three (man) to nearly fifty,
according to the length of tail common to the genus or species.

In front of the neck is the skull, in the Mammals a bony case containing
the brain and organs of sense, made up of plates interlocking by their
zigzag margins; in the Reptiles and lower vertebrates a more or less
open framework. The lower jaw, or mandible, is in adult Mammals the only
part of the skull that is separate. Its hinder ends work in cavities on
the lower part of the skull, and are held in position by strong
ligaments and muscles.

The ribs are attached to the dorsal vertebræ, and connect by cartilage
at the other end with the sternum or breastbone--really a series of
united bones in the middle line of the chest (thorax). The blade-bones
(scapula) of the forelimbs are attached to the upper ribs by the flat
or concave side; and the hinder limbs are connected strongly to the
sacrum by means of the hip-bones which are united below to form the
pelvis, to which the thigh-bone is jointed. The Reptiles and Amphibians
exhibit some differences in their skeletal structure which will be
pointed out later.

  [Illustration: *Skeleton of the Common Badger.*]

In the matter of teeth there is great diversity among the Mammals--even
in the small number of British species. With a view to a proper
understanding of the teeth in, say, the Rodents and the Ungulates, it
is necessary to write a few words respecting tooth-structure. Although
in adult Mammals the teeth are so intimately connected with the jaw as
to appear outgrowths from it, this is not the case really. They
originate in the skin which covers the jaw, and the most effective
part of their structure--the enamel--is derived from the epidermis,
the outer layer of the skin. The centre of each tooth is filled with
pulp, around which is the bone-like dentine with an outer coat of hard,
glossy enamel. In the incisors or cutting teeth of the Rodents, while
the front of the tooth is protected by a thick plate of hard enamel,
the back portion consists only of dentine which wears away whilst the
enamel front maintains a chisel-like cutting edge. In the grinding teeth
or molars, especially noticeable in the Ungulates, the enamel is thrown
into ridges and tubercles, so that the action of these in the upper and
lower jaws upon each other is like that of "the upper and the nether
millstones" in grinding corn.

Four forms of teeth are recognised in the Mammals: the incisors in the
front of the jaw, the pointed, round canines or "eye-teeth" next to
them, and at the sides the cheek teeth, separated into premolars and
molars. In describing the teeth in any species a simple formula is
adopted which shows at a glance the number of each kind in one side
of each jaw. Taking our own normal dental equipment as an example, it
would be expressed in this fashion:--

    _i 2/2, c 1/1, pm 2/2, m 3/3 = 32_

the upper figures representing the number of each kind in the upper jaw
and the lower figures the teeth of the lower jaw, and the total being
reached by multiplying by two for the two sides of the skull. Often
in our rambles we may come across the skull of some animal, and an
examination of the teeth will help us to the identity of its late owner.

For the purposes of the present work it is unnecessary to enter minutely
into all the characters that distinguish the Mammals from the other
backboned animals. One is really sufficient--the possession of glands
(teats) in the skin of the female which secrete milk for the nourishment
of the new-born young. There are, in addition, differences in the
structure of the skull and the articulation of the lower jaw. The skin
is always more or less clothed with hair. The heart has a single left
aortic arch, the blood is hot, and the heart and lungs are lodged in a
special cavity separated from the abdomen by a muscular partition known
as the diaphragm.

Respecting one item in the foregoing--it has been said truly that the
possession of a few or many true hairs as outgrowths from pits in the
skin is alone sufficient to distinguish a Mammal from any other animal.
Although these hairs may take different forms, they are alike in their
origin--even, to take an extreme case, the spines of the Hedgehog. Each
hair consists of an outer wall enclosing a central cavity filled with
pith, in which is the dark pigment which gives the hair its colour.
In the Mammals this pigment is always brown, and the varying tints of
the hairs--black, brown, tawny, cream-colour or white--depends upon
the amount of pigment and its disposition in the pith, combined with
differences in the density of the envelope. In some cases, as about the
mouth, eyes, and ears of the Cat, long sensitive hairs are connected
with the terminations of nerves, which help the animal to feel its way.
There are no marked colour differences in the fur of the sexes, such as
we find in the plumage of Birds; though we do find such discrepancies
in the presence or absence of horns in Deer, and in the manes and
hair-tufts of some exotic Mammals. Certain species, such as the Alpine
Hare and the Stoat, undergo a marked seasonal change of colour in the
fur under the influence of low temperature. This may be quite sudden,
owing to a rapid fall of temperature, and--as shown by Metchnikoff--is
effected by the pigment granules being consumed by a sort of phagocyte.
By Metchnikoff's researches an old controversy appears to have been
settled finally.



  ANIMAL LIFE
  OF THE BRITISH ISLES.


INSECT-EATERS: MOLE, SHREWS, AND HEDGEHOG

*Hedgehog* (_Erinaceus europæus_, Linn.).

The Hedgehog, Urchin or Hedgepig is so distinct from every other British
mammal, that anybody could correctly name it at sight. The development
of many of its hairs into long, stiff spines gives it an individuality
that is not to be confused with any other; but there are other
peculiarities, such as the extreme shortness of the head and neck
in comparison with the bulk of its body, and the muscular power that
enables it to remain rolled into a ball with every part protected
by erected spines. But for the fact that the Hedgehog is frequently
introduced into houses and gardens to keep down insect pests, few
town-dwellers would have had the opportunity of seeing the Hedgehog
alive; for it is a nocturnal beast coming from its retreat only at dusk
and hunting through the night. There are, however, exceptions to this
rule when a heavy summer downpour of rain has drenched the herbage and
caused the snails and slugs to show considerable activity. Then the
Hedgehog wakens also, and reduces their numbers; for it is with such
fare, plus insects, worms, mice, rats, frogs, lizards and snakes, that
the Hedgehog maintains his portliness. He passes the day under a heap
of dead leaves or moss in a spinney or thick hedgerow, and the solitary
observer in such places may sometimes be guided to this retreat by his
snoring!

The winter time is spent as a rule in continued sleep; though he has
been known on mild nights in winter to wake up and prowl around for
the very few good things then to be found. But he is no intermittent
hibernator like the Squirrel and Dormouse; therefore he makes no
provision by laying up winter stores, which are only possible for
seed-feeders. For his winter retreat he looks out for a hole in the
bank--perhaps one that has been gradually enlarged by a colony of wasps
to accommodate their continually increasing nest--and this he lines with
dry leaves and moss, carried in by the mouth. Then he snuggles into his
bed and goes to sleep until the spring.

The Hedgehog's eyesight does not appear to be very good, but this is
made up to him by a very acute sense of smell. He hunts along the
hedgebottoms and the sides of ditches, and in some localities he is
frequently to be seen in such situations. But we have met with signs of
his presence high up on the moors where he finds dense cover among the
heather and bilberry. His common diet of snails and beetles is varied
by the eggs of the robin and meadow pipit, and occasionally he stumbles
upon a huge store of food in the shape of a dozen or more eggs of
pheasant or partridge. By depressing his spines he may even find his way
between the bars of a hen-coop, but after eating a great part of the hen
he may be too portly to get out, and then falls a victim to the enraged
poultry-farmer. He is, of course, too short-legged to accomplish the
operation formerly attributed to him--that of milking cows--unless, of
course, the cow assented to the robbery and laid down to it. But no
evidence has been given in support of the charge, which is of kindred
nature to the aspersions of Pliny, Ælian and other of the ancients that
it climbed apple and fig trees, gathering and throwing down the fruit,
then throwing itself down so that its spines would impale its plunder
with which it walked off. One weak point in the story is the fact
that the Hedgehog has no use for such fare as apples, and as for the
milk--any one inspecting the small gape of his mouth would exonerate him
from the charge of getting a cow's dug into it.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 2._ _B 10._
    *Hedgehog.*
      Erinaceus europæus.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 3._ _B 11._
    *Female Hedgehog.*
      With her family of young ones.]

He is said to be capable of killing and eating a wild Rabbit; but, of
course, although he runs well, he could never catch a Rabbit unless the
rodent were wounded. He is also a good swimmer and climber, not only
of trees but of rain-pipes and rough walls, especially where these are
creeper-clad. In addition to the food mentioned above he takes slugs and
worms, mice, rats, lizards, frogs, and snakes--including the Viper to
whose poison he is immune. It is certain that it fights with Rats, and
Lord Lilford has told how it cleared a garden of them; but the Rat is
sometimes the victor and eats the Hedgehog. The Hedgehog on occasion
will indulge in a feast of carrion.

Only animals that are very hungry will attack the Hedgehog, and then
the young are preferred if available. Gipsies, Foxes, and Badgers appear
to be his principal enemies. The Fox is said to have a special and
disgusting method of making the Hedgehog unroll when he is on the
defensive; and a writer in _The Field_ some years ago stated that when
caught by the Badger the Hedgehog utters a pitiful wail, though he will
permit himself to be torn to pieces by a terrier without a cry.

The male and female are known respectively as Boar and Sow, to carry out
the idea that they are a lesser kind of pig. Though the males are very
quarrelsome among themselves, they have the domestic virtue and mate
for life. Some time between the end of June and the end of August, the
female produces a litter of four to seven blind and helpless young,
sparsely clad with pale, flexible spines, and the ears drooping. The
spines gradually stiffen and become first dull grey, then brown and
ringed with three bands, of which the middle one is dark and the others
light. The spines are arranged in radiating groups, surrounded by coarse
harsh fur. Normally, these spines lie flat upon the body, but can be
erected at will. They cover the entire upper surface with the exception
of the short conical head and stumpy little tail--which is shorter even
than the short rounded ear. The head and underside are clothed with
harsh fur of a dirty brown or dirty white colour. In Devon and Cornwall
it is known as Furze-a-boar. It expresses its feelings by means of a
quiet grunt; the youngsters by a squeak.

  [Illustration: *Skeleton of Hedgehog.*]

The adult male Hedgehog is about nine and a quarter inches in
measurement of head and body, and the tail is a little over an inch;
the female is less than the male by about three-quarters of an inch.
In relation to its entire bulk--it weighs one and a half pounds--the
neck and body are said to be shorter than in any other British mammal.
The eyes are bright and prominent. The legs are so short that the body
but little more than clears the ground in walking. Both hand and foot
has five clawed toes, and five pads on the sole.

The sharply pointed spines are about three-quarters of an inch in
length. They are quite hard, and have from twenty-two to twenty-four
longitudinal grooves. They have a hemispherical base above which is a
narrow neck sharply bent, so that the spine is almost at right angles
with the base.

When attacked the Hedgehog has the skunk-like habit of emitting a highly
objectionable odour in order to disgust its assailant.

We have never tried Hedgehog-meat as food, but several well-known men
have testified to its excellence when cooked gipsy-fashion--in a crust
of clay.

The dentition of the Hedgehog is _i 3/2, c 1/1, pm 3/2, m 3/3 = 36_.

      *      *      *      *      *

With the Hedgehog we make our acquaintance with the order Insectivora,
which is represented in Britain by five species only: the others being
the Mole and three Shrews. In many respects they are similar to the
Rodentia, but the incisor teeth have not the chisel-shape of the
latter, and the molar teeth instead of having grinding crowns have
them developed into pointed eminences more suited for piercing the
chitinous armour of beetles, etc. The skeleton is furnished with
clavicles or collar-bones. There are five toes on each of the feet,
furnished with claws, and the animal walks on its soles. Our native
species represent three distinct families: _Erinacidæ_ (Hedgehog),
_Talpidæ_ (Mole), and _Soricidæ_ (Shrews).


*Mole* (_Talpa europæa_, Linn.).

However slight may be their personal acquaintance with the Mole himself,
his engineering work is only too evident to every possessor of a garden.
He may, perchance, live in a neighbour's land, but from time to time
we shall find some morning that he has driven a tunnel right across
the lawn or the tennis-court, marring its hitherto fair surface with an
ugly ridge and at intervals a little heap of raw earth. If we are
sufficiently self-controlled to dissemble our inward rage, we may get
some countervailing good out of the calamity. If we bring a garden chair
and sit quietly within range of the newest heap, our quiet watching may
be rewarded by a sight of the clever little engineer, and we may be
restrained from throwing stones at him by the thought that he is seeking
to reduce the number of those worm-casts on the lawn that have always
annoyed us so.

If the tunnelling work is not yet completed, we shall see a heaving of
the fresh heap of soil, and after a short interval the sharp, black
snout of the Mole will be pushed up from the centre to sniff the air and
ascertain if it is safe for him to make a fuller appearance. Satisfied
that it is so, he exhibits his shoulders and the broad shovel-shaped
hands with which he has accomplished all this navigator's work. Now
he is right out, even to his ridiculous little tail, and so to speak
swimming over the turf--for he cannot walk on his forefeet, the hands
being set sideways for his shovelling work.

Why has he come up? We can only surmise that he is satiated with the
luscious earthworms and beetle grubs that live under our lawn, and is
looking around for some more substantial fare--a dead bird or mouse,
perhaps, for he is by no means averse from picking bones for a change,
though his structure makes it impossible for him to catch any of the
vertebrates alive, but he can kill and eat a smaller or weaker Mole, and
has been reported to attack birds, lizards, frogs, and snakes; he will
not touch vegetable food. His appetite is almost insatiable, and there
is little substance in his underground fare, which impels him ever
to increase his sources of supply by boring fresh runs. There! your
movement alarmed him, and he has dived to earth again in the soft mould
of the border.

It is not only in the garden that we may see the Mole and his work. He
is perhaps more active in the meadow and the cornfield, where he has a
wider range for his long straight main run and the side runs that branch
off from it. In either of these places he is actually much more of
a nuisance than in our garden--difficult though it may be for the
garden-owner to realise this. When the hay or the wheat has to be reaped
the lines of hillocks across the field are an impediment to the reaping
machines. So the farmer has to set traps to minimise the nuisance as
much as possible. When these are of the bent hazel rod and noose
variety we may find the trapped Mole swinging from the rod that has
straightened itself, and can then indulge in a close inspection of
his form and structure. In pasture-land the mole-hills often appear
to occupy more space than the intervening surface.

The velvet-clad body is cylindrical, with the forelimbs set well
forward opposite the short neck. The long muzzle is blunt-pointed and
terminated by the nostrils, which are close together. His eyes are
mere points that have to be searched for among the close fur, and the
same applies to the ears which have no external shell. Shakespeare,
who thought the Mole sightless, was aware of his acute sense of
hearing--

    "Pray you, tread softly, that the blind Mole may not
     Hear a footfall."

The flexible snout is adapted for turning up the earth after the
immense hands with their large, strong nails have loosened it. They
are wide-open hands that cannot be closed and the palms always face
outwards. The hairs constituting the velvety fur are all set vertically,
so that they will lie forwards or backwards or to either side; and the
colour appears to change according to our point of view--two persons
viewing the same Mole can describe it correctly as black and as grey.
It is really a dark grey.

The teeth should be examined. In the upper jaw there are six incisors
of equal size--three on each side--two comparatively large canines of
triangular shape and flattened from the sides, eight little premolars
and six molars. In the lower jaw the dentition is somewhat puzzling,
as the canines are similar to the incisors and the first premolar is
developed into a suitable mate for the upper canine. These are not
teeth designed for gnawing like those of the Rat and Rabbit; they are
for biting insects and other small creatures, and agree in general with
those of the Shrews. The formula stands thus:

    _i 3/3, c 1/1, p 4/4, m 3/3 = 44_.

The adult Mole is a slave to his appetite, and if kept without food for
only a few hours he dies of starvation. Knowing this, the old writers
averred that he kept a store of bitten worms so that he might draw upon
it on emergency; but this statement has never been substantiated by
careful observers.

Every one is familiar with the diagrams of what was styled fancifully
the Mole's Fortress, as though it were a stronghold held by force
against an enemy. There is really no more reason for calling it a
fortress than for applying the same term to a Rabbit's burrow or a
bird's nest. The idea upon which the originators of the fortress story
worked was that the molehill was a place of intricate passages where
the invader could be given the slip: Le Court, the French inventor of
the term, whose account was published by Antoine Cadet de Vaux in
1803, described its interior as having a central chamber surrounded
by two galleries, one above, the other below, connected by five nearly
equidistant passages. From the upper and smaller gallery three similar
passages gave access to the central hall, at the bottom of which was a
bolt-hole communicating with the main run. Plans and elevations, as an
architect would describe them, were made of these details, and for a
hundred years every writer on the Mole reproduced these illustrations
without doubting their absolute accuracy. It was so much more easy to
accept them than to patiently explore and accurately draw the actual
structure. Of course, what these writers described as a fortress must
not be confused with the "mole-heaves" or "tumps" thrown up at frequent
intervals to get rid of the earth from a newly excavated run. These
are only a few inches in height. The home of the Mole--the molehill
proper--is about a foot high and about three feet broad in any
direction. This, as a rule, will be found partly sheltered by a
bush, sometimes well out in a pasture, and always on the line of the
Mole's high-road, which lies deeper than the newer side runs he is
always excavating for hunting purposes. These are but little below
the surface, in the richer soil where there are more worms and grubs
and where the dug-out earth is easily pushed up to the surface by the
pressure of his head.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 4._ _B 16._
    *Albino Hedgehog.*
      With pure white spines and hair;
        eyes, skin and nails a delicate pink.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 5._ _C 17._
    *Mole.*
      Talpa europæa.]

Moral writers used to commiserate the poor blind Mole for having to
expend its energies in ceaseless toil in the dark underground, and
then rhapsodise on its marvellous adaptation to its rôle in nature,
getting lost in admiration of the mathematical skill displayed in the
construction of the "fortress" they had never seen and which was largely
an imaginative piece of engineering. It is true that its body may be
said to fit the tunnels it has excavated, though it might be more
accurate to say that the tunnels are modelled upon and by the Mole's
form, for it is the constant passage of the animal backwards and
forwards that smooths and consolidates their walls. The sense of
sight is of less importance to it than that of smell, which is
apparently its most highly-developed sense, though that of hearing
is very acute.

Although the eyes are complete in the sense that eyeballs and lenses are
present, they are so small and so completely surrounded by fur that it
does not appear that the Mole can get any great advantage from their
possession, even when he is above ground. The diameter of the eyeball
is one millimetre--that is, considerably less than the head of a "short
white" pin!

At the end of the last century, my friend Mr. Lionel E. Adams set
himself the task of providing some more reliable information as to
the life-story and habits of the Mole, and in four years of research
did not hesitate in the interests of science to break in upon the
digger's privacy in order to explore his so-called "fortress," and the
nursery of Mrs. Mole. He was not content with cutting sections of two or
three of these erections; he examined three hundred of them, finding a
considerable variation in their arrangements, but not one of them was
like the familiar drawings in the books of Thomas Bell and J. G. Wood,
copied from French authors.

Mr. Adams experienced great difficulty in making these observations
owing to the nature of the subject, but he persevered and made plans
of sections from a hundred of the three hundred hills he explored,
and found that no two plans were alike. Some were very simple, others
exceedingly complicated, "but," he says, "in no case have I found one
to tally exactly with the time-honoured figure originating from Geoffroy
Saint-Hilaire, elaborated by Blasius, and copied from him by every
succeeding writer, apparently without the slightest attempt at
verification."

But even in those cases where there is some approach to the plan of the
old diagram, Mr. Adams found that it was clearly not due to any scheme
for constructing a baffling system of bolt-runs for defensive purposes,
but purely incidental to the work of excavating the nest cavity and
getting rid of the material dug out. The easiest way to dispose of this
redundant earth is to push it to the surface, and to do this a tunnel
has to be made above the nest cavity. This, as a rule, is originally
only from two to six inches below the surface, but the hoisting out of
the surplus earth causes the formation of a solid dome of considerable
thickness above it. The tunnels thus made to get rid of earth usually
end in blind terminals, and would not be available for escape in the
case, say, of the "fortress" being entered by a Weasel. It is notable
that in the only one of Mr. Adams' plans that approaches nearly to the
old figure there is no connection between the "galleries" and the nest
cavity.

In some soils (like the Bunter Sandstone) Adams found that stones of
four ounces are turned out--that is, equal to the average weight of
an adult Mole. He also found that "the softer the soil, as a rule,
the nearer are the runs to the surface."

In his work "De la Taupe," de Vaux says: "The Mole places his
habitation in the most favourable spot in his cantonment; he studies
everything, and never does he make a mistake except under circumstances
which he has been unable to foresee, such as continuance of rains, a
flood; then he makes up his mind promptly, and establishes himself
elsewhere. It is by preference that he places his fortress in the
foundation of a wall, under a hedge, at the foot of a tree."

  [Illustration: _Pl. 6._ _C 18._
    *Mole making a new burrow.*
      When alarmed above ground it dives rapidly into soft earth.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 7._ _C 19._
    *In the Mole's Nursery.*
      The young have wrinkled pink skin.]

Upon this Adams has the following comment:--

"With regard to a deliberate choice of 'the most favourable spot' after
a survey of the cantonment by a practically blind animal of the Mole's
impatient disposition and subterranean habits, there can be no question
as to its absurdity."

The male and female (Boar and Sow) appear to associate only temporarily,
the female being polyandrous and constructing her own nest-hill, which
is smaller and of more simple plan than the male's winter retreat and
seldom has a bolt-run. Her hunting tunnels are winding as compared with
the long straight runs of the male. The nest is a ball of leaves and
grass, all having to be carried in by the mouth. The chief pairing
season is at the end of March and beginning of April, and the young
are born about six weeks later. The number of young in a litter varies
from two to seven, the average is three or four. They are blind, naked
and pink, but before the fur has begun to appear the skin has darkened
to a bluish slate colour. The eyes open about the twenty-second day.

The Mole does not appear to be definitely hunted by any enemy--save
man!--although killed by Weasels, Herons, Owls, Fox, and Badger when
they come across him. Adams thinks that for all practical purposes the
Mole may be considered blind; that if its eyes were not covered by fur
the low position of its head would prevent it seeing beyond an inch or
so. He is convinced that worms are hunted by scent. The Mole is an
excellent swimmer, and can attain to a similar speed in the water to
that of the Water Vole.

The Mole does not hibernate: the demands of his appetite appear to
preclude the possibility of a long fast, even if dormant.

Old names, still extant in some districts, are Moldwarp, Moudiewarp,
Wunt, Want (in the "Epinal Glossary" of about A.D. 700, spelled Wand).
Its feet, carried in the pocket, are a rustic specific for rheumatism.

Though Adams refrained from eating adult Mole, warned as he tells us
by the dark flesh and musky odour, he experimented with a couple of
milk-fed young, ten days old, and had them boiled. Eaten without salt
or other condiment, he says he "found them excellent, much like Rabbit,
the flesh being white and very tender."

The Mole's position in human regard has always been equivocal. The
gamekeeper has accused him of sucking partridge's eggs, and the farmer
has pointed to his young wheat plants turned out of the ground as the
Mole ran a surface furrow across the cornfield. Against this in former
days the farmer would credit him with the wholesale destruction of
earthworms; nowadays, however, the farmer has more enlightened views
on the subject of earthworms, and their destruction must go into the
debit side of the account. But the Mole does not live on worms alone,
though chiefly: his runs must cross the track of many a grub--wireworm,
leather-jacket, and fat cockchafer-grub, for examples, and slugs and
snails on the surface--that the farmer would gladly have removed; and
it is not likely that the Mole pushes such fare from him untasted. Then,
again, one must remember the agricultural value of the little black
engineer who carries out so efficient a system of surface drainage,
and improves the pasture by bringing to the surface fresh soil from
below. There is, however, no mercy shown, no redeeming virtue admitted,
in the case of the Mole who sins against society by running his tunnels
under the tennis-lawn or golf-green, and spoiling their levels by
thrusting up his unsightly rubbish heaps. So enormous numbers are
killed yearly; and the Mole-catcher boasts of his great annual catches.
But the astute Mole-catcher refrains from destroying the nests, for
were he to do so his occupation would be gone. The Mole squeaks much
like a Bat or Shrew.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 8._ _C 20._
    *External view of Mole's Nursery.*
      It is smaller and of simpler structure
        than the so-called "fortress."]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 9._ _C 21._
    *Common Shrew.*
      Sorex araneus.]

The Mole appears to be plentiful in all parts of England, Wales and
Scotland, wherever there are earthworms; it has been found even at
an elevation of 2,700 feet. But it does not occur in Ireland, the
Shetlands, Orkneys, Outer Hebrides, or the Isle of Man.

Colour variations have been recorded including cream, orange-pink,
whitish with markings nearly black, orange or yellowish, as well as
wholly grey, fawn or ash coloured.


*Common Shrew* (_Sorex araneus_, Linn.).

Along the hedgebank, the ditchside and the edge of the spinney in the
evening, may be seen one of the smallest and prettiest of our mammals, a
minute dusky red-brown creature with long flexible pointed snout turned
up ever and anon to reach an insect on the grass stems. Although he has
bright bead-like eyes his range of vision is very short, and if we keep
quiet and undemonstrative we can watch him without his being aware of
our presence.

This is the Common Shrew or Shrew-mouse, an inoffensive and useful
creature, for its food is restricted to insects, snails, woodlice and
the other small fry that annoy man without the latter being able to do
much in retaliation. As he sits there among the long-stalked trefoils
and nodding flowers of the wood-sorrel we are able to get a good view
of him.

With a combined length of head and body amounting only to three inches,
his long hairy tail adds nearly half as much again--but the tail length
varies a good deal in different individuals. His bilobed snout extends
far beyond his mouth, and is well furnished with whiskers. His hind
foot--a distinguishing feature in the Shrews--measures just over
half an inch. He is clad in a coat of soft, close, silky fur whose dark
upper part pales to dirty yellowish-grey beneath, and his hairy feet
and tail are flesh coloured. The dark coloration may vary to almost or
entirely black. The hairs on the tail are short and stiff, almost like
little spines. A gland on each flank, midway between elbow and thigh,
provides the disagreeable musky odour which is its sole protection
against enemies.

In winter he spends his time in hedgebottoms and copses among the dead
leaves, but not in sleep as stated often. In summer he moves out into
the fields and rough pastures, where there are tufts of coarse grass
in which he can take cover, and from which he makes runs through the
surrounding grass. Here he may be seen at times actually climbing the
stout grass stems after insects; sometimes he climbs a tree. His toes
are well separated, and this enables him to climb. Although the feet
are not well formed for digging he can burrow expeditiously in light
vegetable soil with the forefeet, and can bury himself in twelve
seconds; but, as a rule, he is more inclined to utilise the common
underground runs of Mice where these are available. The long, attenuated
and sensitive snout, like those of the Pig and Hedgehog, are well
adapted for turning over dead leaves and the surface soil in its search
for insects, worms, and snails; and its short, soft, velvety fur fits
it for passage through the soil without getting dirty. His movements
are not nearly so rapid as those of the Mice, and it is consequently
a better subject for observation. It is by no means an unusual sight
to see it swimming, and in accordance with this semi-aquatic habit,
it frequently makes its nest on the banks of ditches. The nursery is
a cup-shaped nest woven of dry grass and other herbage with a loose
roof beneath which the Shrew makes its entrances and exits. These are
frequently uncovered by the mowers at haying time.

The breeding season extends from May to November, and during this period
each female appears to have several litters, each consisting of from
four to eight or even ten--but usually five, six, or seven--young,
although she has only six nipples. Putting it at three litters of six as
an average--eighteen in a season--we get an enormous possible increase
of Shrew population. Yet the numbers observable from year to year are
fairly constant; and in considering the high birth-rate we have to allow
for the heavy bill of mortality. Though Shrew-flesh is not to the taste
of all carnivorous creatures, and its musky odour makes it actually
repellent to some, this does not in all cases protect the Shrew from
death. Cats, for example, kill many Shrews, but will not eat one. Dogs
also account for many Shrews, and will sometimes essay them as food,
though their stomachs refuse to deal with the unpleasant musky morsel.

From the latter part of summer onwards dead Shrews are quite common
objects of the countryside; and various theories have been set up
to explain the phenomenon, for these dead bodies are mostly without
any signs of maltreatment, either by tooth or claw. It has even been
attributed to an autumn epidemic afflicting Shrews alone; and to the
influence of fear caused by a thunder-clap or the mere breaking of a
twig near by. But apart from this mysterious mortality, Owls levy a
heavy toll upon the Shrew, as is evident from the indigestible "casts"
thrown up by these birds. Other birds of prey, such as the Kestrel, are
known to take their share, and a further considerable number are claimed
by Magpies, Jackdaws, Stoats, Vipers, and Smooth Snakes. Then, again,
numerous males fall victims to the jealous fury of their own sex, which
leads to fierce and fatal battles. But, as already stated, there are
seldom any indications of such encounters on the bodies of these autumn
dead, and the only conclusion that appears tenable is that they have
died from what a coroner's jury would term "natural causes."

Mr. Lionel Adams, who has made special investigations into this matter,
suggests that the natural cause is senile decay. He points out that
young Shrews moult before winter, the process beginning in September
and being completed by November, getting a darker and thicker coat than
the light brown one they have worn hitherto. The progress of the change
can be watched. It begins on the lower part of the back and extends
gradually to the neck, head and face. In spring this darker coat is
exchanged for a shorter and lighter one. _But in their second autumn
there is no resumption of the winter garb!_ The natural span of a
Shrew's life is fourteen months as the maximum; and Nature does not go
to the expense of winter clothing for creatures that will not live to
wear it.

So small a body as that of the Shrew does not appear to require much
food to keep it going; but the character of the food counts, and
apparently insects are not very sustaining. The insect-eater must
pursue his prey almost incessantly. We have proofs of this in the
ceaseless activity of insectivorous birds, the Mole, the Bats, and the
Hedgehog--all insectivorous. Mr. Adams found that, in captivity, a Shrew
would gorge for half an hour, then have to sleep for a similar period
before renewing its feeding with the same energy. In this case the food
was all provided and had not to be chased; and the Shrew was willing to
eat the flesh and pick the bones of one of its own kind. In thirty-six
hours it consumed food of various kinds equal to nearly four times its
own weight. If food is not obtainable for a few hours, the Shrew dies.
This excessive demand of the stomach causes the Shrew to be active both
night and day. It is fond of carrion, and has frequently fallen a victim
to traps baited with bread, cheese, nuts or apple; and, as Mr. Pocock
reports, with plum-pudding. He sleeps with the long flexible snout
tucked between the forelegs under the chest.

The Shrew's dental formula is i _4/2, c 1/0, p 2/1, m 3/3 = 32_. The
summits of the teeth are red-brown, and the almost horizontal lower
incisors are encircled by those of the upper jaw.

The Common Shrew is found throughout Great Britain but not in Ireland.
Its vertical range is from sea-level certainly to 1500 feet, at which
height it has been found in Cheshire by Coward and Oldham. It probably
goes higher in our mountain regions, for on the Continent it has been
recorded at 6000 feet. It is active all the winter among the dead leaves
in some thick hedgerow, where it searches for hibernating insects which
are plentiful in such covers. The rambler at this season may have his
attention called to the Shrew by its shrill squeak, but like that of the
Bats it does not impress all ears.

A form found in the Isle of Islay has been separated as a distinct
species under the name of _Sorex granti_.

It is strange that so inoffensive a creature should have been the
subject of superstitious malignity in the past. It was reputed to cause
lameness by merely running over the foot of man or beast, and as an
antidote a Shrew was plugged into a hole bored in an ash tree from which
thereafter a twig passed over the afflicted part would effect a cure.
Readers of Gilbert White will remember his description of the Shrew-ash
that formerly stood "at the south corner of the plestor" at Selborne.
The evil reputation of the Shrew was much more ancient than White's day,
for the Rev. Edward Topsell, who wrote a "Historie of Four-footed
Beastes" (1607), says of it--"It is a ravening beast, feigning itself
gentle and tame, but, being touched, it biteth deep and poysoneth
deadly. It beareth a cruel minde, desiring to hurt anything, neither
is there any creature that it loveth, or it loveth him, because it is
feared of all."


*Lesser Shrew* (_Sorex minutus_, Linn.).

The Lesser or Pigmy Shrew is the smallest of all British mammals. It
may be described roughly as a smaller edition of the Common Shrew,
and until recent years was considered to be only the juvenile form of
that species, for which, no doubt, it is still mistaken frequently. It
appears to be widely distributed in Britain, but is local, the areas in
which it occurs being limited and patchy when marked on the map. These
are mostly in wooded districts, but extend from sea-level to the tops of
our highest mountains, for it has been found on Ben Nevis at a height of
4,400 feet. In Ireland, from which the Common Shrew is entirely absent,
its place is taken by the Lesser Shrew, though it is not nearly so
abundant as the Common Shrew is in Britain.

Seen side by side these two species are sufficiently distinct, but apart
they may be taken as identical. The earlier British naturalists had not
learned to discriminate one from the other, and even Bell, as late as
1837, does not mention the Lesser Shrew, though in the second edition
of his work (1874) it appears in a description by Alston. If we take
average length of head and body in an adult Common Shrew as three
inches, we shall find that a similar individual of the Lesser Shrew
measures only two inches and a quarter--a reduction of 25 per cent.
The hind foot without the claws in the Common Shrew is half an inch,
but in the Lesser Shrew it is one-sixth less. The actual length of the
tail is about the same in both species, but proportionately there is a
difference, for whilst that of the Common Shrew only equals half the
length of head and body, in the Lesser Shrew it is equal to two-thirds.
But it has been held that the length of the hind feet alone is
distinctive, and that "any Shrew in which these reach or exceed 12
millimetres may be set down as of the larger species."

The colour of the fur is the brown and white of the common species with
a fairly sharp line of demarcation between them. Though the animal as
a whole is more delicately built, the snout is relatively longer and
thicker; the tail also thicker and more hairy; the forearm and hand are
shorter. The sensitive snout appears to be more useful than its eyes in
hunting. As the result of his experiments, Adams is of opinion that the
sight of Shrews is not much--if at all--better than that of the Mole.
Yet it must hunt incessantly for, owing to its rapid digestion, frequent
meals are a necessity. It is so delicately organised that it has been
found that detention in a trap for only a few minutes is fatal to it;
and captured specimens that have been carried in the hand for a few
hundred yards have died shortly after.

It is an excellent climber, and sometimes enters the upper windows of
houses. It is more nocturnal in its habits than the Common Shrew; but
is subject to the same autumnal mortality. It does not appear to
construct burrows, but utilises those of Mice. Its nests have been
found in various situations, such as a clump of rushes, a hollow tree
stump or a hollow in the ground roofed by a stone; and they have been
of different materials according with the local conditions, moss, dry
grass, fine rush shreds and wood chips variously combined and interwoven
to form a hollow ball.

There are probably two litters of from two to eight young, born between
May and September.


*Water Shrew* (_Neomys fodiens_, Schreber).

The Water Shrew is our largest species, the length of head and body
combined varying from three to three and three-quarter inches, the body
of bulkier build than that of the Common Shrew, and the tail longer than
the body. Its upper parts are dark coloured--from slaty black to dark
brown--and the light ashy grey or dirty white of the under parts appear
pure white by contrast. The snout is shorter and broader than that of
the Common Shrew; the small eyes are blue, and the ears, which are
entirely concealed, bear a tuft of white hairs. The brown feet are
broader and the digits are bordered with stiff hairs which make them
more efficient as paddles; and the tapering flattened tail of the adult
has a double fringe of strong silver-grey hairs along its underside,
constituting a "keel" and making it more efficient as a rudder. The hind
foot usually exceeds three-quarters of an inch. The fur is finer and
thicker than in the other British Shrews; and the upper and lower colour
areas are sharply separated one from the other. Its aquatic habits have
in some districts caused it to be known as Otter-Shrew. The tail is
brown above and lighter below. Variation to full black is frequent, and
albinos have been recorded.

The teeth have coloured tips like those of the other Shrews, but the
points of the incisors are more hooked than in the two species of
_Sorex_; moreover, there are two teeth less, the dental formula standing
thus:--_i 3/1, c 1/1, p 2/1, m 3/3 = 30_. It is these differences
in the teeth that has led to the Water Shrew being placed in a separate
genus.

  [Illustration: *Skeleton of Water Shrew.*]

In wandering quietly along the streamside we may perchance see the Water
Shrew sunning itself on a mossy stone by the margin of the water, for
it is active by day as well as by night. We may see it make a sudden
plunge into the stream, and present a beautiful appearance under water,
for the fur carries a good deal of air entangled in it which gives the
submerged body a silvery appearance. It chases the whirligig beetles and
water-gnats on the surface, or routs at the bottom for caddisworms and
other larvæ. Its haunts may often be detected by the little heaps of
caddis cases on the bank, which it has brought ashore and emptied of
their living contents. It eats other aquatic animals, such as snails,
worms, small crustaceans, frogs, and small fishes; is not averse from
a little carrion, and has been caught in a trap that was baited with
cheese. It utters a cricket-like chirp not unlike that of the other
Shrews.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 10._ _C 28._
    *Water Shrew.*
      Neomys fodiens.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 11._ _C 29._
    *Common Shrew.*
      Female beginning to prepare her nursery nest.]

As he seldom goes more than a couple of yards from the bank, the quiet
observer may take full stock of his proceedings, for the limited range
of his vision does not permit him to see you. He appears to be very
buoyant in the water, swimming with his head slightly above the surface
and the body spread out. Though he may walk for a time along the bottom,
he never gets his fur wet. At times he makes distinct leaps out of the
water, apparently after a flying insect.

His home is a burrow in the bank, and far inside the female lines a
chamber with moss and fine roots, or weaves a round nest of grass and
leaves where in May or June she brings forth her litter of five to eight
minute blind and naked young. These develop rapidly and when they are
five or six weeks old they are independent. There is probably a second
brood in September. Like the other Shrews the males are great fighters.

He is found sometimes at a considerable distance from the water,
apparently seeking a change of diet, or migrating to a more abundant
food supply. It does not hibernate, and may be seen in winter pursuing
its prey beneath the ice. Its chief enemy is the Owl, whose cast-up
pellets frequently contain the skulls of Shrews.

The Water Shrew is much more local in its occurrence than are the other
Shrews. With this reservation it may be said to be widely distributed
throughout England, Wales, and Scotland; and in Staffordshire and
Cheshire has been found at elevations of a thousand feet. It is not
found either in Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Outer Hebrides, the
Orkneys or Shetlands. In the Fen country it is known as the Blind-mouse.


FLYING MAMMALS: BATS

*Bats* (_Chiroptera_).

With the exception of the great class of Birds, the Bats are the only
surviving backboned animals that possess the organs of true flight.
Apart from this specialisation for a life in the air the Bats are very
similar in their organisation to the Insectivora, and long ago Huxley
pointed out that they were exceedingly modified Insectivora; but this
modification marks them off sharply from their nearest allies, and the
authorities have agreed that it constitutes a reason for setting them
apart in a special order--the _Chiroptera_ or wing-handed animals.

So complete has been the adaptation to an aerial life, involving both
pairs of limbs, that they are no longer fitted for progression on the
earth. The fingers of the hand have been so drawn out that they are
longer than the forearm, and the middle finger is at least equal in
length to the head and body, whilst the thumb has been converted into
a hook by means of which the Bat can hang from any rough surface. Over
these exaggerated finger-bones a broad web of skin has been stretched,
and connected not only to the sides of the body but also to the hind
legs as far as the ankle, and then nearly or quite to the tip of the
slender tail. The effect of this great modification, whilst it creates
a pair of great wings, is to render the hind limbs unfitted for ordinary
locomotion, for these are so twisted out of the position assumed in
quadrupeds that the knees are turned backwards. This is the cause of
the awkward, shuffling movements of a Bat on the ground which make it
quickly rise into the air or at least to climb some vertical surface.

Looking at the skeleton of a Bat, we shall find the vertebral column
short, the neck short-boned but broad, the spinal cord being of great
thickness at this part though reduced to a mere thread at the hips. The
ribs are usually flattened and connected to a strong breastbone, which
has a prominent keel for the attachment of powerful muscles controlling
the wings. The tail controls the web connecting the hind legs, which
acts as a rudder in flight and as a net helping to capture and retain
the larger insects upon which the Bat lives.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 12._ _C 30._
    *Lesser or Pigmy Shrew.*
      Sorex minutus.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 13._ _C 31._
    *Great Bat or Noctule.*
      Nyctalus noctula.]

The permanent teeth--which are quite different from the milk-teeth--vary
in the different species, but they always have distinct roots, and in
the British species the upper surface always runs into points or cusps,
suited for cracking the chitinous shells of beetles.

The Bat's brain is considered to be of a low order; yet its senses are
very acute. Spallanzani, in the latter part of the 18th century made
a number of experiments on Bats, depriving them of sight, smell, and
hearing, and observing their behaviour under such conditions. He found
that when released in a room across which he had stretched numerous
threads to block their flight, they in every case avoided these, even
when directly in their course. They appear to be helped in this matter
by the sensitive whiskers around the muzzle, as well as by the delicate
membranes constituting the wings and the outer ears. In the Horse-shoe
Bats there is also a great development of the appendages to the nose,
known as the nose-leaf, which act as delicate organs of special
perception.

  [Illustration: *Skeleton of Bat* (_Vespertilio_).]

In most of the genera there is considerable development of the ear as
compared with other mammals. The little lobe that guards the entrance
to the ear in the human subject, and is known as the tragus, is much
elongated in the Bats so that it becomes a conspicuous feature, and
its variation affords one of the characters for identification of the
species. Our two Horse-shoe Bats alone are without any prominent tragus.

It is considered that the Bat's powers of flight are superior even
to those of the birds. This is especially evident if we watch the
rapidity with which it can change its speed, suddenly stopping when in
full flight, then making sudden swoops and turning somersaults in a way
that would evoke the admiration of the stunt-loving airman. The females
as a rule have larger wings and heavier bodies than the males.

Perhaps to the majority of people the Bat appears to be a creature
without a voice. It does, however, utter a shrill squeak which is so
highly pitched that many human ears are incapable of perceiving it. On
the other hand, the Bat has similar deficiencies; and it has been proved
that low notes, however loud, make no impression on the Bat, though a
sharp clicking sound or the tearing of paper will alarm him at once.

Our Bats are all nocturnal in their habits, though a few indulge in
occasional flights by day. Most of them have definite hours for flight,
the time depending upon the flight period of the insects they prey upon
particularly. They retire for the day into dark situations, such as
hollow trees, caves, outhouses, or under roofs. In these sleeping places
great numbers often congregate, and several species may be represented.
During bad weather--when, of course, their insect prey also remains
under cover--they do not leave their daytime shelter. When asleep their
body temperature falls considerably. In harmony with this nocturnal
habit we find that our Bats are usually dull coloured--some tint of
brown with the underside lighter than the upper.

All the British species hibernate, and before the beginning of this
period they develop a good deal of fat to carry them through it. On any
day in the winter when there is any considerable rise of temperature
they wake at once and look around for insects that have been aroused
by the same means. The larger kinds usually eat their food as they
fly, but the smaller Bats rest for a few moments for this purpose. The
web between the legs and tail ("interfemoral pouch") is mostly used to
hold their prey whilst it is being eaten. It also serves to receive the
newly born young.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 14._ _C 32._
    *Greater Horse-shoe Bat* (_Rhinolophus ferrum-equinum_)
      asleep in cave.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 15._
    *Greater Horse-shoe Bat*.
      Head enlarged, to show remarkable nose-leaf.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 16._
    *Whiskered Bat.*
      Myotis mystacinus.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 17._ _D 33._
    *Lesser Horse-shoe Bat.*
      Rhinolophus hipposideros.]

The young Bat is born blind, but not quite naked. It at once clings to
its mother's fur by means of its claws, and by its teeth to her nipple.
Nursing mothers appear to form colonies apart from the others. The
growth of the young Bat is rapid and it is soon fully covered with fur.
Before it is a fortnight old it is able to leave its mother temporarily,
but it does not lead an independent life until it is about two months
old. Nothing certain is known about the age to which a Bat attains, but
it appears to be about four years.

Until the present century there was an astonishing lack of knowledge of
the life-histories of our native species; but a small but enthusiastic
band of observers have in recent years done much to make good the
deficiency. In this connection the work of Messrs. Alcock, Coward,
Moffat, Oldham, Tomes and Whitaker calls for acknowledgment. They have
hunted far and wide, exploring the sleeping places and hibernacula,
in woods, caves, roofs and belfries, and have established--among other
facts--that our Bats are more numerous in the south, becoming scarcer as
we go west, and that there are few species represented in the fauna of
Scotland. Most of the species appear to be common in some one or more
localities, even if rare elsewhere; and the physical features of a
district have a striking influence on their local abundance or scarcity,
certain species being more discriminative in this respect than others.
The presence of woods, water, and caves appears to be the most
favourable condition governing their comparative plentifulness or
scarcity.

The Bats were known generically in Anglo-Saxon times as Flittermouse and
Reremouse, and these names may be met with still in certain localities;
but to the general public the Bat is still a Bat without distinction
of species. Although there are twelve distinct kinds that breed in the
British Isles, for each of which the naturalist has had to invent an
English as well as an international name, not one of these has got into
ordinary use; so that it is impossible to get any precise information
from those whose occupation gives them opportunities for observation.


*Larger Horse-shoe Bat* (_Rhinolophus ferrum-equinum_, Schreber).

We have two Horse-shoe Bats, distinguished as Larger and Lesser,
and they are regarded as the lowest organised of our Bats. Their
distinguishing feature as a genus is the absence of the tragus from
the ear, and the presence of a leaf-like outgrowth of naked skin on
the muzzle around the nostrils. The broad forepart of this forms the
horse-shoe, a protruding central portion behind the nostrils is known
as the sella, and behind it an erect tapering portion is the lancet.
There can be little doubt that this extraordinary expansion is no mere
ornament, but a sense organ which enables these Bats to execute their
marvellous flight through narrow passages. They are able even to
distinguish invisible obstacles like glass, and they fly low down
among bushes and herbage where they are far more likely to collide
than in the upper air. In these respects their motions are different
from those of the other Bats.

The Larger Horse-shoe Bat is a large and rather heavily built Bat whose
proportions are only slightly exceeded by the Noctule (page 46), our
largest species. The combined length of head and body is about two and
a half inches, and of the tail an inch and a quarter. The forearm is two
inches or more, and the expansion of the wings covers more than thirteen
inches. The large ears are about half an inch broad, narrowing abruptly
to the sharp recurved tip; when laid forward over the face they reach
slightly beyond the tip of the muzzle. The lower portion of the broad
wing membrane is attached to the ankle and the tail almost to the tip
of the latter. The colour of the fur above is reddish-grey; on the
underside pale grey. Its cry is a sparrow-like chirp.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 18._ _D 34._
    *Whiskered Bat.*
      Asleep on roof timbers.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 19._ _D 35._
    *Red-grey Bat.*
      Myotis nattereri.]

The mouth has a straight broad opening below the swollen muzzle with
its stiff moustache. The large canine teeth are very conspicuous in
contrast with the small incisors. The dental formula for this and the
next species is: _i 1/2, c 1/1, p 2/3, m 3/3 = 32_.

As already indicated, the flight of this Bat is usually low, and it
alights to consume its prey, which it presses against the wing membrane,
the interfemoral pouch not being large enough for the purpose. Its
food consists chiefly of the larger beetles, such as cockchafers and
dor-beetles, the quick-running ground-beetle _Pterostichus_, moths,
flies, bees, and caddis-flies. It appears to be a thirsty creature,
and may be seen lapping water. It takes its daytime sleep in caves,
dark buildings, lofts and roofs. It may hang singly or crowd into
crevices. Mr. Coward found it in the Cheddar caves hanging in bunches.
Their overhead resorts are revealed by heaps of excrement below. Their
natural resting attitude is hanging by the feet head downwards. They
cannot walk on a flat surface, and before alighting on a vertical one
they turn a somersault in the air to get the proper position. Their
senses are so acute that Mr. Chas. Oldham says: "Even when sunk in
winter sleep they appreciate a man's approach. The eyes are, of course,
then shrouded by the wings, and the sense of danger must be conveyed
to them either by hearing, smell, or, as seems to be most probable,
by the exercise of their extraordinary tactile sense, which enables
them to actually feel the approaching danger."

There is but one young at a birth, which occurs at the end of June or in
July. Its eyes are closed, and the underside is quite naked and the skin
purple. The eyes open about the tenth day.

The Larger Horse-shoe Bat has an extensive distribution. From England
it is found through Central Europe and the Mediterranean region, through
the Himalayas to China and southern Japan. In our own country it is
found chiefly in the South-west of England, South and West Wales, but
does not occur in either Scotland or Ireland. The presence or absence
of caves suitable for a winter retreat appears to have some bearing upon
its distribution.


*Lesser Horse-shoe Bat* (_Rhinolophus hipposideros_, Bechstein).

The Lesser Horse-shoe Bat is much smaller and more delicately built than
the species last described. The nose-leaf has a narrower outline and its
sella is more wedge-shaped; the lancet slender with a wedge-shaped tip.
The expanse of wings is less than ten inches, and the length of the
forearm is only an inch and a half. The colour is much the same as in
the larger species, but somewhat darker above and more yellow below.
Its habits are similar also, but, naturally, it does not hunt such large
beetles, nor does it fly so low. It has a more fluttering flight with
intervals of gliding. Its "tchek-tchek" cry is of lower pitch than in
most Bats, and Oldham compares it to a diminutive of the alarm-note of
the Greater Spotted Woodpecker.

The single young one is born somewhat later than in the last species: it
is born like the other with a thin coat of downy hair on the upper side
only.

Males, apparently, are more numerous than females.

The species appears to be more abundant in localities where there are
caves which provide it with the equable temperature it requires in
hibernation. It is most susceptible to wind, and will frequently
remain inactive in its shelter because there is wind outside. Even
tame individuals exhibit a strong desire to get into the most retired
corners and crevices. The first recorded British example was taken in a
cavity over a baker's oven to which it had obtained access through a
small fissure.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 20._ _D 36._
    *Red-grey Bat.*
      Emerging from retreat in hollow tree.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 21._ _D 37._
    *Daubenton's Bat.*
      Myotis daubentonii.]

It may be considered a common species in the South of England from Kent
to Cornwall, and more sparingly to Wales. It is unknown in East Anglia,
rare in the Midlands, and its northward range terminates at Ripon. In
Ireland it occurs in the West only, in some parts of which it is the
commonest species. Its wider distribution includes Central Europe,
Mediterranean, to Gilgit; northward in Europe to the Baltic.


*Whiskered Bat* (_Myotis mystacinus_, Kuhl).

The small and usually solitary Whiskered Bat was formerly considered to
be a rare species, but it turns out that the naturalists of last century
frequently confused it with the Common Bat--the Pipistrelle--which,
however, is smaller and has a broader muzzle. The head and body measure
about an inch and a half, and the tail the same length. The wings are
narrow, but long, and have an expanse of nine inches.

The soft, long fur of the upper parts is light yellowish-brown in
colour; lighter, almost dirty white below. It extends but slightly on
the wing membrane, and there is little of it on the long, slender ear,
whose outer margin is deeply notched, and the straight, tapering tragus
half the length of the shell of the ear. The hinder margin of the
brownish black wing membrane is continued to the base of the toes,
and the spur (_calcar_) reaches halfway from the ankle to the long
tail. Owing to the length of the fur on the face the small eyes are
almost hidden and the face appears to be very short. There is a bristly
moustache on the upper lip which has suggested its trivial and
scientific names.

Though reputed to be of solitary disposition--and it usually enjoys its
daytime rest apart from its kin--it has been taken in numbers on several
occasions. It makes its appearance early in the evening, flying low
along hedgerows, plantations, and cliffs, its method of hunting being
not to chase flying insects in the air but to pick off such as have
settled on leaves and twigs. It may also be seen at times flying in
the daytime. It has a fondness for the neighbourhood of woods and water,
where it finds many flies, beetles, and moths in flight. It is quite
silent on the wing.

Mr. Oldham describes the flight of the Whiskered Bat as "slow, steady,
and silent--I have never heard this species squeak on the wing.
Individuals did not appear to wander far, but confined their attentions
to single pools or short stretches of the stream, where they flitted
about the alder-bushes or threaded their way with marvellous precision
through the lower branches of the sycamore trees. I never saw one rise
to a greater height than twenty feet, and often they flew within a few
inches of the ground or skimmed the surface of a pool for a yard or two,
only to rise again to resume their flight around the alders."

It is not very particular where it takes its daytime sleep. Any sort
of shelter will do, whether it be a hollow tree or under a piece of
loose bark, a hole in the wall, a roof, or behind window shutters. Its
hibernation is passed by preference in a cave, whence it emerges for a
flight whenever the weather is fine. In spite of its customary silence,
it can produce a feeble squeak.

On the wing it is not easily distinguished from the Pipistrelle, which
is so similar in size; but the noisiness of the Pipistrelle compared
with the silence of the Whiskered Bat is the best guide.

The solitary young one is born in June or July.

It is widely distributed throughout England, with the exception of East
Anglia. In Yorkshire it has been found at an elevation of 1400 feet.
It appears to be common in Wales and Ireland, but rare in Scotland. It
occurs all over Europe where there are trees, and extends eastwards to
Asia. It is the smallest member of its genus.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 22._ _D 38._
    *Daubenton's Bat.*
      Typical alder-sheltered resort of this species.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 23._ _D 39._
    *Common Bat.*
      Vespertilio pipistrellus.]

We have three other representatives of the genus _Myotis_, which is
probably the largest as it is the most widely distributed of all the
genera of Bats. They are all of slender, delicate form, which is seen
most clearly in the shape of the skull, the muzzle, the ear and its
tragus. They agree also in having thirty-eight teeth--six more than in
the Horse-shoe Bat. The dental formula of all the members of the genus
is: _i 2/3, c 1/1, p 3/3, m 3/3 = 38_.


*Red-grey Bat* (_Myotis nattereri_, Kuhl).

The Red-grey or Natterer's Bat is somewhat larger than the Whiskered
Bat, the head and body measuring about an inch and three-quarters, but
the tail is relatively shorter, being only an inch and a half. It has
the longest wings of our species of _Myotis_, their expanse being equal
to eleven inches and a quarter.

The long, soft and dense fur is of a greyish-brown colour above and
whitish on the underside. The wing membranes are dusky. It has a small
head, with a narrow muzzle which is naked at the tip and slightly
overhangs the lower jaw. The face is so densely covered with fur that
the small eyes are hidden. There is also a moustache, and above the lips
on each side is a prominent gland. The large oval ear is notched on the
outer margin above the middle, and the long slender tragus is more than
half the length of the ear, ending in a long, very slender point. The
wing membrane extends to the base of the outer toe, and the interfemoral
membrane is distinctly fringed with stiff hairs along its lower edge.
The tail, which is carried extended behind, is slightly less than the
head and body in length.

The Red-grey Bat shares the Whiskered Bat's partiality for wooded
districts, where it may often be seen in numbers, even before sunset.
Unlike the last-named species it is both sociable and gregarious, and
its daytime retreat in holes in walls, hollow trees, and caverns, is
shared with Bats of its own and other species. It flies low, with a
slow, steady flight, and often picks flies and small moths off leaves
and twigs. When so engaged like the Whiskered Bat it may be known from
it by its noisy chirping. It will turn somersaults in the air in order
to alight by clinging with its feet.

The solitary young one is born towards the end of June.

It does not appear to be a generally distributed species even in the
South of England. Its range extends from Cornwall and the Isle of Wight
to Durham and Norfolk. It also occurs in Wales and various parts of
Ireland. In Scotland it has been reported from Argyll, Midlothian, and
Montrose. It is a native of Central and Southern Europe, extending north
to the south of Sweden.


*Bechstein's Bat* (_Myotis bechsteinii_, Kuhl).

Bechstein's Bat has a general resemblance to the Red-grey Bat, but is
slightly larger, with ears almost twice the breadth of those of that
species, and the feet relatively as well as actually larger. Though the
skull is larger, it is actually narrower than in that species. The thin
ears are relatively larger than those of any European Bat, except the
Long-eared Bat, where, however, they are of quite different shape and
are connected by their lower margins, whilst here their bases are widely
apart. The form of the ear is like that of the Whiskered Bat; so is the
tragus, and the shape of the wings.

It is covered with soft, woolly fur, which is a greyish-brown on the
upper parts and buff-grey below. The membranes are dark brown; that of
the wing arises from the base of the toes, and that of the interfemoral
leaves the last joint of the tail free.

The combined length of head and body is about two inches; of the tail
an inch and a half. The ears are about three-quarters of an inch in
length and half an inch wide; the tragus half the length of the ear.
The expanse of the wings is ten inches. The single young is born about
midsummer.

Bechstein's is the rarest of British bats, and so far has been recorded
only from the South of England, the localities being the New Forest,
Isle of Wight, Sussex, Berkshire, and Oxfordshire. Our knowledge of
its habits is derived chiefly from the Continent, where it flies about
woods, orchards, and the neighbourhood of dwellings, coming out from
its retreat late in the evening and flying slowly and low over lanes
and woodland roads, but only in calm weather. It is restricted to
Central and Southern Europe.


*Daubenton's Bat* (_Myotis daubentonii_, Kuhl).

Daubenton's or the Water Bat was formerly considered one of our rarest
Bats, but is known now to be one of the most widely distributed and
plentiful species. It had probably been mistaken for the Common Bat
or Pipistrelle to which it comes near in point of size, though its
habits are different. It keeps close to the water, especially to some
alder-sheltered pool in the river where there are plenty of caddis-flies
and other insects. There from an hour before sunset it flies slowly in
circles, frequently dipping its muzzle into the water to pick up surface
insects. In such places the evening fly-fisher sometimes finds this
Bat caught on his hook. It appears to be on the wing all night. It was
probably to this Bat that Gilbert White referred in his eleventh letter
to Pennant, when he said: "As I was going, some years ago, pretty late,
in a boat from Richmond to Sunbury, on a warm summer's evening, I think
I saw myriads of Bats between the two places; the air swarmed with them
all along the Thames, so that hundreds were in sight at a time." This
was long before it had been distinguished as a distinct species, and
when it would probably have been regarded as the Common Bat.

It is clothed with short, dense fur, of a grizzled warm brown colour on
the upper parts, and lighter brown or buffy grey, sometimes so pale as
to show a distinct line of separation along the sides from the angle of
the lips to the thigh. The face is dusky, and the ears and wing membrane
are of a reddish dusky tint. The interfemoral membrane is whitish below,
and there are whitish hairs on the toes. The membrane arises from the
middle of the foot.

In size it is a little larger than the Whiskered Bat and the Common Bat,
but smaller than Leisler's Bat. The head and body measure about two
inches, the tail an inch and a quarter, the ear half an inch; the wing
expanse is about nine inches. The foreleg and foot are conspicuously
large. The ear has a rounded tip, and a shallow concavity on the upper
part of the hind margin; the lance-shaped tragus is about half the
length of the ear. The spur or calcar of the foot extends three-fourths
of the distance between the foot and the tail. The last two joints of
the latter usually extend beyond the membrane.

For its daytime rest it retires to crevices in trees, walls, caves or
roofs, often in numbers, but its resorts have not the evil smell that
such places frequently give off. It has a low soft chirp, less shrill
than the cry of the Common Bat. In hibernation--which extends from the
end of September to about the middle of April--it is no longer sociable,
but hangs alone in some dark cave.

There is a single young one, born in June or July.

Its range extends from Ireland to Asia, and from the Mediterranean to
central Norway.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 24._ _D 42._
    *Serotine Bat.*
      Vespertilio serotinus.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 25._ _D 43._
    *Common Bat.*
      Alighting on branch.]


*Common Bat* (_Vespertilio pipistrellus_, Schreber)

The Common Bat is in a general sense familiar to everybody, for it
may be seen in the evenings flying everywhere, even in the streets
of crowded cities. Its British distribution extends from the South
of England to Scotland and the Hebrides and westward to Ireland. Its
wider range includes Europe and parts of Asia. It is the smallest of
the British Bats.

In spite of its small size--the head and body measure little more than
an inch and a half--the Common Bat is of robust build, and it has a
wing expanse of over eight inches. It has a flat broad head with a
blunt muzzle and wide mouth. The short, broad ears are somewhat
triangular with blunt tips. The erect, slightly incurved tragus has
a rounded tip which does not reach quite to half the height of the ear.
There are glandular swellings on the muzzle between the nostril and
the small, but rather prominent eye. The tail is little over an inch
in length, and the legs also are short. The last joint of the tail is
free from the membrane and prehensile, and the Bat makes use of it as
a support in crawling up or down. The spur reaches more than halfway
to the tail. The narrow wing is attached to the middle of the sole of
the foot.

The somewhat silky fur is a reddish-brown on the upper parts, slightly
paler beneath. The wing membrane and the ears are blackish.

It is a very active Bat, flying over farmyards and gardens and about
houses, frequently uttering its shrill little squeak as it snaps up the
flies and small beetles, pouching and eating them without alighting. It
continues its flight all through the night, and has a longer period of
activity than any other species, for it leaves its hibernaculum in March
and does not retire until winter has begun. Even then, a moderately high
midday temperature is sufficient to awaken it and bring it out for
an hour's hunt. It is this habit that accounts for the letters in the
daily papers from City gentlemen who report the presence of a Bat flying
along Cornhill or Cheapside early in January.

It is not particular in regard to its sleeping place, and is frequently
found under roofs, behind rainwater pipes and gutters, or in any
crevices between woodwork and brickwork in buildings. Any regular
dormitory acquires a very fetid odour from its use.

The dental formula of the Common Bat is: _i 2/3, c 1/1, p 2/2, m 3/3
= 34_. Schreber's name of _Vespertilio pipistrellus_ was bestowed
in 1774 and is the oldest name; in the British Museum Catalogue it
is _Pipistrellus pipistrellus_, a combination invented by Miller in
1897.


*Serotine* (_Vespertilio serotinus_, Schreber).

The Serotine and the Noctule are our two largest Bats, and in the
early records they were very much confused. Though similar in size,
they may be known apart by the shape of the ear; in the present species
oval-triangular with the tips rounded. The fur is also of a darker
brown, and there are other points of difference, such as the possession
of two additional teeth by the Noctule. But for a few records of its
occurrence in Essex, it might be said to be restricted in Britain to
that portion of England bounded by the river Thames and the English
Channel. A few examples have been taken in Cornwall, and other counties
in which it is found are Surrey, Hampshire, Sussex, and Kent. It occurs
throughout the Isle of Wight--where it is known as Rattle-mouse--but
Kent is its British metropolis, where it is the commonest Bat. It
extends through Central and South Europe, from Denmark to the
Mediterranean and eastward into Asia.

It has a somewhat swollen face with little hair on the front portion,
save for a moustache on the upper lip; but owing to the dark skin of
the face the lack of fur is not very noticeable. The dark brown fur of
the upper parts is soft and dense; behind the shoulders the hairs have
buffy tips. On the underside the fur is somewhat lighter. There is
little extension of fur on the wing, except a line of down on the under
surface of the forearm. The membrane is attached to the base of the
toes. The head and body measure about three inches, and the tail
slightly exceeds two inches, the last joint being quite free of the
membrane. The expanse of the wings is fourteen and a half inches.
There are prominent glandular swellings on the muzzle. The ear is
about three-quarters of an inch long; the short tragus--less than half
the length of ear--has a straight front border and a curved hind border,
with rounded tip. The canines and the inner incisors of the upper jaw
are noticeably large and strong. Dental formula: _i 2/3, c 1/1, p 1/2,
m 3/3 = 32_.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 26._ _D 44._
    *Great Bat.*
      Showing use of tail as additional foot.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 27._ _D 45._
    *Serotine Bat.*
      Emerging from its dormitory.]

The Serotine makes its appearance in public about sunset, apparently
retiring early and flying again in the early morning. It frequents
glades in woods, and preys upon beetles and moths. In May and June large
numbers of cockchafers fall victims to it, and in July and August in
Kent and Sussex it plays havoc with the local Brown-tail Moth. In the
early part of its season it flies at a low height, but later it prefers
an altitude between thirty and forty feet, from which, however, it
frequently descends to the ground. The change is, no doubt, connected
with the seasonal succession of insects with different habits. It is a
sociable species, and when it retires to holes or roofs for its daytime
rest it is usually in company. Its hibernation begins at the end of
October. Its voice is a squeak.

      *      *      *      *      *

The Parti-coloured Bat (_Vespertilio murinus_, Linn.) is sometimes
enumerated among British Bats, but on the strength of only two specimens
captured in this country, in the "thirties" of last century. As one of
these was taken at Plymouth and the other at Yarmouth, it is reasonable
to suppose that they were mere stragglers which had reached our shores
on board ship. Had they occurred as residents their distinctive
coloration--dark brown upper side mottled with yellow-brown and whitish
underside--and large size, would have established their identity at
once.


*Great Bat* (_Nyctalus noctula_, Schreber).

Though similar to the Serotine in size and to the Pipistrelle in form,
the Great Bat or Noctule was recognised as a distinct species long
ago. We might with great fitness call this White's Bat, for it was
the Selborne naturalist who first called attention to it as a native
species, under the name of _altivolans_, suggested by its high flight.
Schreber, however, had some years previously named it _noctula_, basing
his description upon a French specimen. White refers to it several
times, and in his xxxvith letter to Pennant gives particulars which the
latter included in his "British Zoology." Part of White's description
is worth quoting. He says: "In the extent of their wings they measured
fourteen inches and a half; and four inches and a half from the nose to
the tip of the tail; their heads were large, their nostrils bilobated,
their shoulders broad and muscular; and their whole bodies fleshy and
plump. Nothing could be more sleek than their fur, which was of a bright
chestnut colour.... They weighed each, when entire, full one ounce and
one drachm. Within the ear there was somewhat of a peculiar structure
that I did not understand perfectly! [? tragus] but refer it to the
observation of the curious anatomist. These creatures sent forth a
very rancid and offensive smell."

To add to White's description, it may be said that the general form is
robust and heavy, the forearm massive, the wing long and slender, its
narrowness being due to the shortness of the fifth finger. The lower leg
is short and thick and the foot broad and powerful. The muzzle is broad
and has a glandular swelling between eye and nostril. The nostrils
project forward and outward and there is a distinct concavity between
the two crescent-shaped orifices. The ear is short--when flattened it
is broader than long--with the front border rounded to the tip; its
inner surface covered with short hairs. The ears are far apart. There
is a very short, downy, bow-shaped tragus, broader above than below. The
long, soft, golden-brown fur is abundant, and extends over the face and
a short distance over the wing; it is paler and duller on the lower
parts. On the underside there is a narrow band of fur below the arm
bones. The last joint of the tail is free. The membrane and ears are
blackish.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 28._ _D 46._
    *Leisler's Bat.*
      Nyctalus leisleri.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 29._ _D 47._
    *Great Bat.*
      Alighting after daytime flight.]

The dentition is: _i 2/3, c 1/1, p 2/2, m 3/3 = 34_.

The Great Bat, as one would expect from the shape of the wings, has a
quick, dashing flight reminding one of that of the Swifts, with which,
indeed, it may be seen high in the air hawking for the same prey. It
often glides down obliquely on expanded wings. It flies at twilight and
again at dawn, as well as in the daytime occasionally. It has a shrill,
clear, cricket-like voice.

Mr. C. B. Moffat says they "cram themselves to bursting point either
once or twice in the twenty-four hours, during a seventy minutes career
of mad excitement among the twilight-flying beetles and gnats." They
also take moths and other insects; but in captivity they have resolutely
refused to eat such "warningly coloured" species as the Cinnabar and
Magpie moths. It is proved that at one meal they will consume food equal
to a fourth of their own weight. When one considers the lightness of
insects the amount of good these purely insectivorous creatures effect
is obvious.

Their resorts are in hollow trees and under the eaves of buildings,
where numbers may associate together, especially in hibernation. Their
presence is often indicated by thick layers of excrement.

The Great Bat flies all through the year with the exception of January
and the latter part of December. Pied and almost black variations from
the normal colouring have been recorded.

The sexes are said to separate into distinct colonies in the summer:
the females retiring to trees. The single young is born naked and blind
towards the end of June. When they get their fur they are much darker
than the adults.

Although the Great Bat is generally distributed as far north as
Yorkshire, Durham, and the Lake District, it is common only in the
South of England, from Norfolk to Cornwall, but is rare in the Isle
of Wight. It is not recorded from Ireland. Formerly, it was not
considered a native of Scotland, but in recent years several examples
have been captured there. It is found throughout the greater part of
Europe and adjacent parts of Asia.


*Leisler's Bat* (_Nyctalus leisleri_, Kuhl).

It is not necessary to give a detailed description of Leisler's or the
Hairy-winged Bat, for it is a miniature edition of the Great Bat in a
darker binding. The length of the head and body is two and a half inches
and of the tail an inch and a half. The wing expanse is thirteen inches
and a quarter. The fur on the upper parts is a darker brown than that of
the Great Bat, but it is lighter on the under parts. The skull is only
half the size of that species, and the entire build is lighter and less
massive. Owing to this difference in size it is not so likely to be
mistaken on the wing for the Great Bat as for the Common Bat. It is
without the strong odour of the Great Bat. It agrees with the latter
in its high flight, but its movements are not so swift and are more
zigzag.

It is one of the rarest of our Bats, and like the Great Bat a woodland
species, making its dormitory preferably high up in a decayed oak, but
also in the roofs and crevices of buildings. Its period of activity
begins about the third week in April and lasts until near the end of
September, when it goes into hibernation, but a little mild weather in
winter will wake it up and bring it out for a flight. According to the
observations of Mr. C. B. Moffat it flies for about a hundred minutes
just after sunset, and for a similar period just before sunrise. Its
food consists of flies, beetles, and moths. Dr. Alcock, who has brought
this Bat down by shooting it an hour after sunset, found it so crammed
with food that it did not appear physically possible for it to feed
longer.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 30._ _D 48._
    *Leisler's Bat.*
      Asleep on roof masonry.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 31._
    *Long-eared Bat.*
      Plecotus auritus.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 32._
    *Long-eared Bat.*
      Ears uncurling after sleep.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 33A._ _E 49._
      Face, showing distinctive ear and tragus.
    *Barbastelle* (_Barbastella barbastellus_).]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 33B._ _E 49._
      On the wing (reduced two-thirds).
    *Barbastelle* (_Barbastella barbastellus_).]

The distribution of Leisler's Bat does not agree at all with that of its
near ally, the Great Bat. It has been obtained chiefly in the Valley of
the Avon (Warwickshire); also in Yorkshire, Cheshire, and Norfolk. It
does not appear to occur in Scotland; but it is reported as abundant in
several parts of Ireland. It is a purely European species, occurring
only from Central Europe westward.


*Long-eared Bat* (_Plecotus auritus_, Linn.)

The Long-eared is probably the best known of our Bats owing to the very
distinctive character afforded by the huge ears, which are as long as
the forearm and longer than the body. In addition, it is one of the
commonest and most widely distributed of our Bats, and likely to be met
with anywhere in the British Islands. It is, however, rarer in the North
of Scotland than elsewhere. It is found nearly all over Europe.

The large and mobile ears give this Bat an appearance of size not
justified by its small and delicate build. The head and body combined
measure less than two inches, whilst the tail is only a fraction less
than that measurement. The fact that no other European Bat has such
an equipment renders a detailed description superfluous, for the ears
at once distinguish this from all the other species. These ears have
their bases joined across the forehead. Their form is a long oval with
rounded tip. Except for fringes on the folds they are hairless. They
are semi-transparent and have transverse folds. The tapering tragus is
nearly half as long as the ear, and might be mistaken for it when the
Bat hangs asleep; for then the ears are carefully folded and tucked away
in the wing whilst the tragus sticks out beyond the inanimate-looking
bundle. Sometimes, when awake, one ear is held at a different angle from
the other; but in flight both ears are directed forward. Often, when it
has caught an insect, the Long-eared Bat will come to the ground to eat
it.

The soft, silky, brown fur is long and thick, especially on the
shoulders, but does not extend far upon the wings. On the under parts
it pales to yellowish or dirty white. The wings are both long and broad,
and their expanse in flight is about ten inches. The long tail when
folded forwards can touch the top of the head; its tip is slightly free
from the interfemoral membrane, and when the Bat hooks itself up head
downwards for sleep it serves as a third foot.

The Long-eared Bat is found chiefly among trees, though it frequently
comes into open windows at night when its hunting is over. It flies
among the branches of trees and examines the foliage for insects of
all kinds. In early spring, when the sallows are in bloom and attracting
swarms of insects, the Long-eared Bat is there also: fresh from
hibernation and with a keen appetite. He hovers like a hawk over a
favourable tree, and swoops down upon his selected prey. He appears
in the evening usually about half an hour after the sun has departed,
and apparently feeds during the greater part of the night; occasionally
he is active in daylight. He appears to be at least partially migratory,
for it has been observed that in summer a swarm will appear in a
district where they are not noticeable as a rule, and after staying a
few weeks disappear.

The single young one is born in June or July.

They are often found hibernating in clusters under house-roofs;
but solitary individuals are also found in hollow trees and similar
situations. Should the thermometer register 46° F. or more at any
time during the winter, the Long-eared Bat awakes and makes a foraging
flight--calling attention to his presence by his acute, shrill cry.

The dental formula is: _i 2/3, c 1/1, p 2/3, m 3/3 = 36_.


*Barbastelle* (_Barbastella barbastellus_, Schreber).

One feels inclined to apologise for the poverty of language displayed
in the heading above; though no one accepts responsibility for it--the
fault lies with the Law of Priority. A strong point in the Linnean
System of nomenclature was its binomial character--there were two
words only in the name of every animal and plant, the first of the two
indicating the genus in which it was grouped, and the second peculiar
to the species. In recent years the extension of our knowledge of the
world's fauna has led to the breaking up of many of the older genera
and a regrouping of the species. In some cases the species name has been
adopted to denote a new genus, and then the Law of Priority steps in
and says the oldest species name must be retained, so that instead of
a binomial we get a mere duplication. When this happens--as above--to
be essentially the same as the only "popular" name the species has ever
had the result is ludicrous.

Daubenton, who first described it (1759), called it the Bearded Bat (La
Barbastelle) owing to tufts of black bristles on the glandular swellings
on the muzzle. It is of slender form with long legs and small feet. The
irregularly four-sided ears are relatively large, as broad as long, and
united by their bases just behind the muzzle. The outer border has a
deep notch; the lance-shaped tragus is half the length of the ear. The
nostrils open in a naked depression.

The long, soft fur is a very dark brown, but many of the hairs on the
upper surface have pale tips which produce a frosted appearance; on
the lower surface such light tips are more numerous, and are specially
evident along the middle line of the abdomen. The wing, ear, nose, and
foot are dusky, appearing lighter than the furred regions.

The head and body measure about two inches, and the tail an inch and
three-quarters. The expanse of wings is about ten and a third inches.
This and the Long-eared Bat are the only British species whose ears
connect; and the form of the ear in each is so distinct that there is
no danger of confusing them. It is both solitary and silent in flight,
which begins early in the evening, often in daylight; it holds its
feet far apart and the tail decurved. In fine weather it flies high.
During its diurnal rest it has been found in various retreats, often
in company: under thatch of a shed, between the rafters and tiles of
outhouses, behind a cottage shutter, in the crevices of walls and trees.
Its voice is a metallic squeak or a buzz.

It has one premolar less on each side than the Long-eared Bat, so that
its dental formula stands thus: _i 2/3, c 1/1, p 2/2, m 3/3 = 34_.

As a British Bat, the Barbastelle is found chiefly in the South of
England, though it has been recorded from all the English counties
between the Severn and the Wash; also Lincoln, Cheshire, and Cumberland
(Carlisle). It appears to be absent from Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle
of Man.


FLESH-EATERS: FOX, BADGER, OTTER, WEASELS, MARTENS, AND WILD CAT

*Fox* (_Vulpes canis_, Linn.).

It is safe to say that, except in the wildest and most remote corners
of our island, the Fox would have been placed long ago in the list of
extinct British mammals, but for its careful preservation by the various
"hunts." In recent times--that is since fox-hunting became a fashionable
sport--the poultry and sheep-raising agriculturist has had to bear
heavy losses in order that the local pack of fox-hounds may have its
well-conditioned quarry at the proper season. As far back as the reign
of Elizabeth an Act of Parliament was passed for the protection of
grain, which incidentally provided for the payment of "xijd" for the
head of every Fox or Gray that might be brought in to the officers
appointed to receive them. To-day, outside the hunt areas, the killing
of a Fox is considered a meritorious act, particularly in the northern
mountain districts; in Cornwall, we have seen a loafer carrying a dead
Fox around the villages and receiving pence from the grateful owners of
domestic poultry.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 34._ _E 52._
    *Fox.*
      Vulpes canis.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 35._ _E 53._
    *Fox cub.*
      Taking a peep at the outside world.]

The head and body of the Fox measures usually a trifle over two feet in
length, and the bushy, white-tipped tail adds at least another foot to
his total length when running; but examples have been recorded greatly
exceeding these measurements. He stands only about fourteen inches high
at the shoulder. The beautiful fur is russet or red-brown above and
white on the under parts. The front of the limbs and the back of the
ears are black. The sharp-pointed long muzzle, the erect ears, and the
quick movements of the eye with its elliptical pupil combine to give
him an alert, cunning appearance, which so impressed the ancient writers
that they invented many stories of his astuteness. The Foxes ("Tods")
of Scotland, although of the same species, have usually greyer fur than
that of the English Fox. The Fox is an ancient Briton, and he was here
at a period long anterior to the Mammoth's days.

The habits of the Fox are nocturnal, and save at the breeding season
he leads a solitary life. The day is spent in an "earth"--a burrow
underground, rarely made by himself, usually acquired from Badger or
Rabbit; in the former case he has probably taken up quarters in the
entrance to a Badger's earth and rendered it uninhabitable to the more
cleanly beast by permeating it with the secretion from glands under
the tail. In the case of the Rabbit-burrow the Fox gets undisputed
possession by eating out those who constructed it. The Fox then stops
all the exits except one, leaving that if possible that opens in a
bramble thicket or the dense undergrowth of bracken on a hillside.
From this stronghold he issues at dusk, and trots at a light easy pace
along his accustomed trails, keeping a watchful eye for rabbit, hare,
pheasant, partridge, hedgehog, squirrel, vole, frog--even snails and
beetles. He sometimes takes to the seashore in quest of fish, crabs, and
mussels. On winter nights he will prowl around the farms, looking for a
hen-house whose door has not been properly secured; or for a fowl that
is sleeping out in the copse. Sometimes a lamb is the victim, and in
the mountain districts hunger will goad him to attack one of the small
mountain sheep, especially if the vixen is hunting with him. If cornered
he proves a hard fighter, and snaps like a wolf.

  [Illustration: *Skeleton of Fox.*]

At night in January the scream of the vixen or she-fox, may be heard in
appropriate places, and the yelping bark of the dog fox in answer to
her invitation. About April the Vixen produces her litter of about four
blind whelps. She is a model mother, unremitting in attention to their
wants and education. They are without sight until ten days old. When
nearly a month old they are taken out one night for exercise, and if
suitable cover is found in the wood or on the moor among the heather,
they may not return, though the vixen remains with them and teaches them
hunting until the autumn, when the family party breaks up, each member
going his or her own way; though they will not be fully grown until
another year has passed. In fox-hunting countries artificial burrows
are constructed in suitable places, of earth and stone, of which the
expectant-mother vixen will avail herself. These are furnished in order
that the cubs may be dug out with ease when they have reached a proper
age for the huntsman's purpose.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 36._ _E 54._
    *Badger's Front-door.*
      The deep entrance slope connects with underground galleries.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 37._ _E 55._
    *Badger.*
      Meles taxus.]

The Fox is credited with resorting to a species of hypnotism to attain
his ends. Seeing a party of rabbits feeding, and knowing that they
will bolt to their holes on his approach, he starts rolling about at
a safe distance to attract their attention; then like a kitten he will
begin chasing his tail, whilst the silly rabbits gaze, spellbound, on
the performance. At it the Fox continues without a pause, as though
oblivious to the presence of spectators; but all the time he is
contriving to get nearer, until a sudden straightening of his body
enables him to grab the nearest rabbit in his jaws.

The Foxes of the northern hill country are a finer race than those of
the southern woodlands. This, of course, is due to the fact that every
man's hand is against them, and it is only the individuals of great
cunning and superior physique that survive to continue their kind.

Dental formula: _i 3/3, c 1/1, p 4/4, m 2/3 = 42_.


*Badger* (_Meles taxus_, Boddaert).

In the old forestal days of Britain the Badger, Brock, Bawsen or Grey
must have been a common beast. Like the Beaver--also a former British
beast--he has left indelible marks in place-names, such as Brockham,
Brockenhurst, Brockley, Brockholes, and many more. In the present day,
by the majority of people, the Badger would be regarded almost as one of
the extinct native fauna, only to be read of in books. But it is very
far from being extinct; and the London naturalist who is determined to
see it may have his wish gratified with a journey of no more than five
and twenty miles, possibly less. It must be remembered, however, that
the Badger is even more nocturnal in his habits than the Fox, retiring
at dawn to his "set" deep in the earth, where he sleeps until dusk.
This underground hollow may be ten feet or more below the surface,
and besides the entrance slope it may have several passages and upper
galleries, with probably a back door at some distance from the main
entrance. In front of this aperture, and partly hiding it, is a mound
of earth that was turned out when the excavation was made, and the size
of this mound may be taken as an indication of the depth and extent of
the habitation. It is no unusual thing for some of the upper passages
communicating with the entrance to be tenanted by Foxes and--Rabbits!
The proximity of the Badger's "set" may be ascertained sometimes, when
rambling through the woods, by coming across a beech or birch tree whose
smooth bark is scored vertically, and an idea of the size of the Badger
may be obtained by noting the length of these marks. They are caused
by the Badger "up-ending" and stretching his limbs to the full extent
whilst he cleans and sharpens his claws, as the domestic cat does hers
on a table leg. The scores of the Badger cubs may be found there also.

The rough-coated Badger measures from two and a half to three feet
long, and stands about one foot at the shoulder. At a little distance
he appears to be of a uniform grey colour, but more closely he is seen
to be reddish-grey above and black beneath. The body is stout and broad,
the muzzle pointed; the ears short, and tail 7 to 8 inches long. The
soles of the feet are naked, and the claws of the forefeet are larger
than those of the hind feet. His weight may be anything up to 40 lbs.
The Badger is by no means particular as to the nature of his food: he
is a general feeder, and most things appear to be to his liking, whether
young rabbits, voles, hedgehogs, birds that have dropped from the nest,
mice, snakes, lizards, grubs of wasps and humble-bees, for which he
will rout out underground nests, and beetles from under bark or among
decaying leaves. On the vegetable side he is known to hunt for fleshy
roots, to pick up acorns and other fruit, and C. St. John found he had a
liking for the bulbs of the Bluebell--that is to say, he frequently
found them about the Badger's holes.

The female prepares a special lying-in chamber well furnished with moss
and grass, and there in spring or summer the young cubs or "earth-pigs,"
three or four in number, are born blind and helpless. These are at
first a silver-grey colour, but later they become dull brownish-yellow
and finally darker blue-grey, when the characteristic black and white
stripes appear on the cheeks. The blue-grey tint harmonises with the
half-tones of the wood late in the evening, and the strong contrast
between the black and white stripes fits in with the lights and shadows
of the moonlit wood. The Badger is not a sprinter, and little of his
animal food is obtained by running it down. The birds, voles, and
rabbits he captures are mostly sickly or wounded, and he has been known
to visit regularly, night after night, the ground under a rookery, in
order to pick up luckless squabs that have fallen from the nests. He is
said to be clever in springing traps without being caught, by the heroic
plan of rolling upon them, and then walking off with the bait. His
ordinary gait and form suggest the bear; and for many years naturalists
classed him among bears, but his affinities are now known to be with the
Otter and the Weasels. He is exceedingly clean in his personal habits,
and to prevent defilement of his "set," digs pits in the neighbourhood
for offensive waste.

If an ascertained Badger "set" be watched in the late evening, the
occupant may be seen to put out his head and, elevating his snout, sniff
at the air to ascertain whether it bears any enemy taint. If all is well
the Badger emerges, perhaps followed by the cubs; and they follow the
well-worn tracks that their feet have hardened, and hunt for food. St.
John says: "Eggs are his delight, and a partridge's nest with seventeen
or eighteen eggs must afford him a fine meal, particularly if he can
surprise and kill the hen-bird also; snails and worms which he finds
above ground during his nocturnal rambles are likewise included in his
bill of fare."

In winter the Badger retires to a specially deep chamber, excavated
below the nursery apartment, and prepared in autumn by bedding it with
fallen leaves which ferment and keep up a moist warmth. The passages are
blocked to keep out unwelcome visitors as well as cold, and when the
cold renders food scarce the family retires and settles down to a long
sleep. In any short spell of mild weather the Badgers will emerge and
see what is to be picked up. The cubs taken young are easily tamed, and
in response to kind treatment show a considerable amount of attachment
to their owners. Happily for our national reputation, the brutal
custom--it was called a "sport"--of badger-baiting has long been a thing
of the past. Commending itself, as it did, very strongly to certain
elements in our society, it is probable that it may have continued much
longer but for the growing difficulty in obtaining victims.

The Badger's dental formula is: _i 3/3, c 1/1, p 4/4, m 1/2 = 38_. The
minute first premolar in each jaw is frequently shed early, and may be
missing from any adult skull examined.

Although the Badger is a distinctly local species, it is widely
distributed in Britain and Ireland. In the latter country, where it
is common, Badger hams are not an unknown delicacy in rustic larders.
In Europe it extends from the south of Sweden to Italy.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 38._ _E 58._
    *Otter.*
      Lutra vulgaris.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 39._ _E 59._
    *Otter swimming.*
      When the rivers are low the Otter retires to sea-caves.]


*Otter* (_Lutra vulgaris_, Erxleben).

The Otter is by no means the nearly extinct beast that is commonly
imagined; but he who would see it in a wild state must seek it by night
along the banks of remote streams or tarns, where there are alder-holts,
or in the neighbourhood of the East Anglian Broads. It may sometimes be
found by day, by searching the caves on some remote part of our coast
where the cliffs are rocky and the shore strewn with boulders. Even so
near the congested haunts of men as the upper Thames, Otters are
occasionally trapped.

If one has the good fortune to get a good view of the Otter in such
places it will be found to be a very different creature from the
specimens in zoological gardens. The long, lithe body, clad in fine
smooth fur and ending in the long thick tapering tail, gives it a very
graceful appearance in the water; and, of course, it is a most expert
and agile swimmer. The head is broad and flattened from above, the
face short, the black eyes small but bright, and the short, rounded
ears hairy. The ears are closed when under water. The legs are short
and powerful, and all the feet are completely webbed. There are five
toes on each, with short pointed claws, those of the hind feet flat
and nail-like. The tail is somewhat flattened from the sides, and forms
a most efficient rudder. Below its thick base there is a pair of glands
which secrete a fetid fluid. The fur is of two kinds: a fine, soft,
under-fur of whitish-grey with brown tips, among which are interspersed
longer, thicker, and glossy hairs. Water does not penetrate the
under-fur. On the upper parts and the outer sides of the limbs, these
longer hairs, which have a grey base, have rich brown ends; but on the
cheeks, throat, and under parts they are brownish-grey. At a little
distance it appears to be of a uniform dusky brown tint. White,
cream coloured, and spotted examples are on record.

The total length is about four feet, of which about one-third is tail.
The weight of a full-grown male is between 20 lbs. and 25 lbs., but
occasionally it exceeds 27 lbs.--Pennant records one of 40 lbs.! The
female weighs less than the male by about four pounds. The dental
formula is: _i 3/3, c 1/1, p 4/3, m 1/2 = 36_. The molar teeth have
sharp tubercles on the crown.

Where the presence of Otters is suspected, a keen look-out should
be kept for their footprints--known as "seal" or "spur" (spoor)--on
moist ground, which may help us to find its "holt" or lair, which
will probably be a hole in the bank with the entrance under water and
overhung by alders and rank herbage. There may also be an alternative
way in at the back of the bank above water. Here the Otter rests
secluded in the daytime, coiled up like a dog with its tail around
its face. The "spraints," or droppings, are also a good clue for
the observer. A short distance in from the mouth of the tunnel, a
side-chamber will be found, which is the family midden.

About the time of sunset the Otter wakes up, utters his flute-like
whistle, enters the water, and hunts favourite pools in the stream for
fish, which it secures by diving below them. These are always brought to
the bank to be consumed. The backbone is first bitten through behind the
gills; and where fish are large (salmon) and plentiful the Otter often
contents himself with a mouthful from the shoulder. At other times he
may eat methodically from this point to the tail, which is always left.
Apart from the fact that he has to make frequent visits to the surface
in order to breathe, he is as much at home in the water as a fish,
swimming in circles where the water is deep, and his movements in that
element are as graceful as those of the fishes he pursues. Not that his
diet is restricted to fish: he is very fond of the river crayfish, and
will turn over every stone in his section of the stream in his search
for them. He is known also to consume frogs, which he carefully skins
before eating them. Occasionally he indulges in wild duck or moorhen;
and when he hunts on shore may catch a rabbit unawares, a rat or a
vole. When he goes down stream he floats with the current his forelegs
pressed against his sides and only the upper part of his head with eyes,
ears, and nostrils exposed.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 40._ _E 60._
    *Pine Marten.*
      Mustela martes.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 41._ _E 61._
    *Stoat or Ermine.*
      Mustela ermina.]

In summer when the water is low in the streams, he travels across
country from pool to pool by night, seeking some estuary or the open
coast. Although so obviously adapted for an aquatic life, the Otter can
travel with speed on land, and it has been estimated that in one night
it will cover about fifteen miles. On arrival at the coast it will
seek some bat-haunted cave that has been favoured by its kind for
generations, and will work the shallow waters for flat fish, bass,
crabs, and mussels. From here also it will make excursions over a
considerable area of neighbouring country by means of the creeks and
marshes. In autumn it will return to its favourite stream and feed
royally on migrating eels that are on their way to the sea. It does not
hibernate. In winter when fishing may be poor, it may be constrained to
dig out the mole and the vole from their underground retreats to provide
a meal, and is even glad of hibernating insects, either in the larval or
pupal condition. It also shows a fondness for the freshwater mussel
(_Anodonta cygnea_).

  [Illustration: *Skeleton of the Otter.*]

In the rutting season there is a good deal of desperate fighting
between jealous males; but this business disposed of a nursery nest
or "hover" is constructed of rushes and grass, and lined with the soft,
purple flower panicles of the great reed. Here, in the winter, the
bitch Otter brings forth her two or three blind young. They are already
covered with a fine downy fur. Both parents hunt to provide them with
food, and in due course they are taken out one night to be taught the
way of life in the waters. The partnership of the parents is only
temporary, and as soon as the young ones are capable of taking care
of themselves, the old dog Otter goes to live by himself. The mother
remains with her family until the rutting season returns, when she also
departs to find another mate. In Norfolk the nursery is frequently found
on the surface, in the great reed-beds.

The chief enemy of the Otter is the river-keeper on waters that are
preserved for fishing, who has always his traps set for them. This is
somewhat strange when it is remembered that the Otter is also an animal
of the chase, packs of Otter-hounds still being kept like fox-hounds in
certain districts, though the packs are by no means so numerous as in
former times. The flesh of the Otter is rank and fishy-flavoured, and
therefore not in demand for human food; but there are many records
showing that it has been esteemed for use on days when the rules of
the Church permitted fish only to be eaten, the clerical casuists easily
finding that as it spends most of its active life in the water and has
a fishy taste, it must be a kind of a fish! Readers of dear old Izaak
Walton will remember the Otter-hunter's reply when Piscator asks him
whether he hunts a beast or a fish. The Huntsman says--

"Sir, it is not in my power to resolve you; yet I leave it to be
resolved by the College of Carthusians, who have made vows never to
eat flesh. But I have heard the question hath been debated among many
great clerks, and they seem to differ about it; yet most agree that _her
tail is fish_; and if her body be fish too, then I may say that a fish
will walk upon land (for an Otter does so), sometimes five or six or ten
miles in a night."

More recently Pennant says he saw an Otter in the kitchen of the
Carthusian monastery near Dijon, being prepared for dinner.

There have been many cases of tame Otters who hunted streams for fish
for the benefit of their owner, to whom they return on hearing a whistle
or other signal. Some years ago an interesting account appeared in _The
Field_ of an Otter whelp that had been mothered by an Otter-hound,
afterwards hunting its own kind with the pack.


*Pine Marten* (_Mustela martes_, Linn.).

The Pine Marten or Marten Cat was formerly quite a common woodland
beast, but owing to the onslaughts of the gamekeeper and the high prices
paid for a skin, it is now, so far as southern and midland England is
concerned, extinct. In the wilder parts of the Peak district, the North
of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, however, it still exists,
though in small and ever decreasing numbers in most places. In the Lake
District it was quite recently reported to be fairly common even. The
name _Pine Marten_ is a misnomer in so far as it indicates that the
animal is at all restricted to pine woods; and it is probable that in
the past it led to confusion, for in all the natural histories published
up to a late date in the nineteenth century, Britain was credited with
an additional species, the Beech Marten (_Mustela foina_). The two
species are much alike, and the practice appears to have been to record
those found in pine woods as _M. martes_ and those in other woods as _M.
foina_! Bell, indeed, though he expressly states his disbelief in our
possession of two species of Marten, refers to the white-throated form
as the Beech Marten or Common Marten and says it is more frequently met
with than the yellow-throated form or Pine Marten. The truth is that
there is a white-throated _Mustela foina_ in Europe and Asia, but it
does not reach northward so far as Sweden, Norway, or the British Isles.
The white examples found in this country are old animals from which the
yellow tint has faded.

The Pine Marten may be described as resembling roughly the better known
Polecat, but with longer legs, a broader, more triangular head with
sharp-pointed muzzle, and a longer, more bushy tail. Its entire length
is between twenty-five and thirty inches, of which from nine to twelve
inches are contributed by the tail. Its colour is a rich dark brown,
except on the throat and breast which vary from orange through yellow to
creamy-white. The middle of the back and the exposed sides of the legs
and feet are darker than the rest, whilst beneath the tint approaches
grey. The superficial colour is provided by the long upper, glossy fur,
but beneath this is a finer, softer fur of shorter reddish-grey hairs
tipped with yellow. The eyes are large, black, and prominent, the ears
broad, open, and rounded at the tips. Like all the other members of the
family Mustelidæ, the Marten is provided with glands near the base of
the tail. It is these which enable the Skunk and the Polecat to disgust
their enemies; but in the case of the Marten the secretion is merely of
a musky odour and not objectionable; in consequence one of its old
English names was Sweet Marten to distinguish it from the Foulmart or
Polecat.

The habits of the Pine Marten are mainly arboreal, for which the long
slender body and sharp long claws specially fit it, whilst the long
bushy tail is useful as a balancer in negotiating slender branches in
the pursuit of birds, or in reaching their nests for eggs. All the same,
the Marten is at times very active on the ground where he destroys rats,
mice, voles, rabbits, hares, game-birds, and domestic poultry large and
small. He is even accused of attacking lambs and stealing trout from
the fishing boats. He has also a taste for bilberries, strawberries,
cherries, and raspberries; and C. St. John tells an interesting story
in this connection which illustrates the Marten's cleverness in hiding.
He says: "I saw in my garden in Inverness-shire that some animal came
nightly to the raspberry bushes; the track appeared like that of a
rabbit or hare, but as I also saw that the animal climbed the bushes,
I knew it could be neither of these. Out of curiosity, I set a trap
for the marauder; the next morning, on going to look at it very early,
I could see nothing on the spot where I had put my trap but a heap of
leaves, some dry and some green; I was just going to move them with my
hand, when I luckily discovered a pair of bright eyes peering sharply
out of the leaves, and discovered that I had caught a large Marten, who,
finding that he could not escape, had collected all the leaves within
his reach, and had quite concealed himself under them. The moment he
found that he was discovered, he attacked me most courageously, as the
Marten always does, fighting to the last. I had other opportunities of
satisfying myself that this animal is a great fruit-eater, feeding much
on the wild raspberries, and even blackberries, that grow in the woods."
It also robs beehives of their honey.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 42._ _E 64._
    *Stoat.*
      Characteristic hunting attitude.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 43._ _F 65._
    *Weasel.*
      Killing a rabbit it has outrun.]

The female Marten forms a nest of grass among the rocks, in a hollow
tree, or utilises an old crow's nest by relining it, and produces
a litter of four or five--sometimes varied in number from two to
seven--and there are at least two litters each year. The young are
exceedingly pretty and are easily tamed; though a captured adult is
savage and untameable.

The dentition of the Marten is: _i 3/3, c 1/1, p 4/4, m 1/2 = 38_.

Cuvier divided the Linnean genus into two subgenera, _Mustela_ and
_Putorius_, the first, Martens and Sables, possessing an additional
small premolar on each side of the jaw; the second including the
Polecats, Stoats, and Weasels. At a later date Nilsson called these
subgenera genera, substituting the name _Martes_ for the Martens and
giving that of _Mustela_ to the Weasels. This has the effect of
making the name of the Pine Marten, _Martes martes_, which is rather
ridiculous; and we have preferred to retain the Linnean name _Mustela
martes_. The old spelling of the popular name was Mart_i_n, but in
recent works, to avoid any possible confusion with the birds of that
name, zoologists have agreed to use _e_ as the second vowel when
writing of the mammals.

The Pine Marten is found in all the wooded regions of Europe and into
Asia; northwards from the Mediterranean to the limits of tree-growth.


*Stoat or Ermine* (_Mustela erminea_, Linn.).

Though the gun and the snare of the gamekeeper and the poultry-farmer
levy their toll upon the Stoat equally with the Polecat, and the
keeper's gibbet always shows a goodly row of Stoats, the species manages
to keep itself well represented, even in the strictly preserved woods of
Southern England. There must, therefore, be some additional reason for
the scarcity of the Polecat (see p. 74).

The Stoat is much smaller than the Polecat, its total length being
only a little more than fourteen inches, of which about four and a half
inches are the long-haired but not very bushy tail. In colour, too, it
is very distinct, the upper parts being red-brown and the under surface
white tinged with yellow. The tail takes the colour of the upper
surface, except its tip which is invariably a tuft of long black hairs.
In the Alpine districts of Scotland as in other northern countries, the
fur in winter becomes pure white all over, with the exception of the tip
of the tail which always remains black. This change takes place also
in the North of England, but not so generally, and in the South it is
only of rare occurrence, and often only partially, some parts remaining
brown, as a ring around the eyes producing a spectacled appearance. The
summer coloration is "protective" inasmuch that it harmonises generally
with the colour of the ground littered with the remains of dead leaves,
bark, etc.; but in a landscape under snow for months, as the Alpine
districts are, the brown fur would render the animal so conspicuous that
it would be heavily handicapped in the hunt for food; but the winter
change to white fur enables the Stoat to steal upon its prey unseen from
a short distance. The change is quite sudden, given the requisite fall
in the temperature, the pigment being withdrawn. (See Introductory
chapter.)

Like the Polecat, the Stoat can secrete a most objectionable odour from
its scent-glands, but in this case it is not nearly so insupportable.
St. John says that if the Stoat is suddenly shot before he has had time
to see his aggressor the dead body has not this offensive odour; the
same result follows upon his sudden death in a spring trap, but if he
is trapped alive or hunted before being shot the vile smell is imparted
to the fur and is irremovable.

The Stoat hunts along hedgerows, rivers and brooks, in the latter places
for fish, of which all the members of the Weasel tribe are exceedingly
fond. An eel or other fish placed in a trap is a deadly bait for these
animals. The Stoat also frequents sand dunes, where it lives sumptuously
upon Rabbits. It is very destructive to game and poultry, which it will
attack right in the open field, and if pursued by a dog, immediately
takes shelter in a mole's or rat's run, where pursuit is impossible.
It will destroy the Mole and take possession of its chamber, though it
appears to be fonder of "field mice" (Voles) than of Moles. Although
largely nocturnal in its habits, it is by no means exclusively so, and
there is more chance of observing the Stoat hunting in broad daylight
than in the case of any other of our native carnivora. Sometimes it
hunts in small packs--family parties; and it is said that when through
increase of its own numbers it has largely reduced the food supply of
a district, it will migrate in large numbers, when their associated
courage is so great that they will attack a man. A single female who
has young will, indeed, exhibit the greatest courage and ferocity in
their defence. The Stoat hunts by scent, and its movements consist
largely of a succession of low bounds which give its progress a
snake-like appearance--and like the other members of the family it
makes sidelong leaps. Many years ago, whilst walking along a woodland
road in Surrey, we paused to listen to cries of terror in the cover far
ahead. A panic-stricken young Rabbit came into the open in our direction
swiftly pursued by a Stoat which rapidly gained upon it. As it came near
the Rabbit became aware of our presence and appeared deliberately to
change its course, and fell on its side exhausted against our feet. The
Stoat, by this time only a few yards away, stopped, and looked up at us
with a snarling expression, but kept out of reach of our uplifted stick.
Realising that the hunt had failed and the Rabbit had found a spoilsport
protector, the Stoat then made off into the bracken; whilst the panting
Rabbit allowed us to carry it on our arm for half a mile until it had
recovered. Its natural fear of man was not nearly so great as its terror
inspired by the bloodthirsty Stoat; and when at length it was set down
in what was judged to be a safe place, it hopped off without any
frightened haste.

It appears that the Hare under similar conditions does not exert
itself greatly to escape from the Stoat, but becomes so terrorised
as to be unable to adopt methods which so frequently outwit the Fox
or the fleetness of trained hounds.

The nursery is made in a hole in the bank, the hollow of a decayed tree,
or in the retreat of a female Mole who has been killed or evicted. Here
about April or May the female Stoat gives birth to four or five young,
which she will defend with great fierceness against all dangers.

The distribution of the Stoat extends eastward from Great Britain into
Asia, and from the Alps and Pyrenees across Europe to its arctic shores.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 44._ _F 68._
    *Weasel's Hole.*
      In woodland bank, containing nest and young.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 45._ _F 69._
    *Polecat at Bay.*
      Defying a human intruder.]

A local race of smaller size, with some variation in the colouring, is
found in Ireland, and some systematic naturalists, eager to swell our
short list of native mammals, have dignified it with a separate species
name--_Mustela hibernicus_. In Ireland it is known as the Weasel, but no
specimens or skins of the true Weasel (_Mustela nivalis_) have ever been
received from that country. Another local race in the Isle of Jura on
the west coast of Scotland is similarly given species rank.


*Weasel* (_Mustela nivalis_, Linn.).

Although of very similar form to the Stoat, the Weasel may be known by
its smaller size and by the absence of the black tip which marks the
tail of the Stoat. In colour there is little difference in the two
species, except that in the Weasel the upper parts are of a redder
brown and the under parts a purer white than in the Stoat. The head
is narrower and the legs are shorter, whilst the tail, which is a
conspicuous feature of the Stoat, is here less bushy and little more
than half the length of the Stoat's appendage. The average length of
a mature male is nine or ten inches, to which the tail contributes only
two inches; the total length of the female is an inch and a half less
than that of the male.

The long, slender body, short limbs, long neck and small head give it
a snake-like appearance which is helped by its active, gliding
movements. The snake-likeness is accentuated when only the foreparts
are seen protruding from a hole. On one occasion as we passed a stack
of cord-wood on the edge of a wood, our attention was attracted by a
hissing noise. On the level of our face a snake-like head peered out
from between the cord-wood; and many persons would, no doubt, assume
that a snake had threatened them. But the snarling expression exposed
the canine teeth. The cause of the demonstration was not obvious, but
we presumed that there were young Weasels in the stack, and that some
other predatory animal had threatened danger to them just before we
passed, and had aroused the maternal rage. In spite of its small size
the bloodthirsty Weasel is full of courage, and will attack creatures
larger than itself. We have seen it, in the neighbourhood of a barn,
struggling to haul along a nearly full-grown Rat, two or three times
its own weight, after it had paralysed its victim by biting through
the base of the skull. Sometimes it hunts in couples, or family packs.

Although, like the other members of its family, the Weasel is chiefly
nocturnal in habit, it is also active by day, and may be encountered
frequently in our rambles. His diet is varied, and includes rats, mice,
voles, moles, frogs, small birds, and chickens. He will swim in pursuit
of the Water Vole, and will climb trees and bushes in order to rob a
bird's nest of eggs or young. Voles and mice are probably his principal
victims, his small size enabling him to pursue them in their underground
runs. But though the farmer may lose some of his chickens through want
of care in protecting fowl-houses and runs, he has in the Weasel a most
efficient guardian of his mangold-caves and other consumable stores.
Many farmers have testified that their poultry is untouched by the
Weasel, but destroyed by the Stoat.

One winter's day in Cornwall we were strolling up a road from the sea
that ran between farm buildings, when our attention was attracted to the
peculiar movements of some object on the road about a quarter of a mile
ahead. Screaming cries came from the rolling mass, and soon we got near
enough to see that a struggle was going on between two creatures who
were mixed intimately; and finally saw that a large, well-fed Rat had
been taken in charge by a lithe little Weasel. Spots of blood on the
road and the redness of the rodent's neck-fur showed that the bite that
rendered the Rat powerless had been given already. So intent was the
Weasel upon the work in hand that for a moment he appeared ignorant
of our presence within a few feet. Then he paused, stood upright on
his haunches, and looked up with a fierce gleam in his bright black
eyes that seemed to say, "Don't interfere, there's a good fellow. I've
tackled him fairly--let me finish the job." That slight pause gave the
Rat a chance--a very poor one, but he tumbled in a stupid, drunken kind
of way towards the hedge, to which the Weasel had been trying to drag
him.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 46._ _F 70._
    *Wild Cat.*
      Felis silvestris.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 47._ _F 71._
    *Weasel.*
      Mustela nivalis.]

On the other side of the hedge was a "cave" of mangolds upon which the
Rats had been committing fearful ravages, as is their wont, and this
particular thief had waxed fat upon such fare. The Weasel had evidently
caught him in the act of committing larceny, but the Rat had given the
little policeman a run through the hedge and across the road before the
Weasel had leaped upon the culprit's back and inflicted the deadly bite.
So much was told with tolerable certainty by the drops of blood and
the footprints on the soft road. Now, getting somewhat alarmed at our
presence, the Weasel ran into the hedge; but immediately rallying his
pluck came out of his corner again, seeking his quarry who was at the
hedge-foot, dreamily looking for the hole that in ordinary health
he would have darted to straight. He floundered hopelessly under the
herbage; but in a second or two the Weasel had him again by the skin of
the back, and was trying to haul him up the bank to get him through the
hedge. Then, realising the impossibility of his task--for the Rat was
probably six times the Weasel's weight--and finding we had taken up an
attitude of benevolent neutrality, not loving Rats, he got on the Rat
and finished the business. A few spasmodic movements of the extended
limbs showed that the Rat was dead, so we left the Weasel to enjoy his
feast of brains in the solitude he desired.

  [Illustration: *Skeleton of Weasel.*]

When the Weasel has failed by stalking or hunting such prey to secure
a meal, he is known to resort to "charming" tactics. In full view of
a hedgerow where small birds are numerous, he will throw his body
into snake-like contortions to attract their attention. They become
fascinated and curious, and though apparently filled with fear, they
approach nearer and nearer until one is close enough to be grabbed by
the charmer. Then the others recover their senses, and in numbers fly
at the Weasel, mobbing and pecking him in a fearless manner, so that he
is coerced by the defenceless creatures he intended to kill, and is glad
to slink into cover. If there is a scarcity of live food, the Weasel
will content himself with carrion. Its chief enemies are hawks.

There is, as a rule, no seasonal change of colour in the Weasel's fur
in this country; but occasionally it has been found white in winter.
In colder climates this change is quite normal.

The Weasel's nest is placed in a hole in the bank or in some hollow
tree, and consists of dry leaves, grass, etc. In it the female brings
forth from four to six--usually five--young, in spring or early summer;
and the mother will sacrifice her own life in the defence of her
helpless progeny. If necessary to remove them, she does it as a cat
removes her kittens.

In the north it is known as the Whittret = Whitethroat of Suffolk; in
Yorkshire, the Ressel; in Cheshire, the Mouse-killer; in Sussex, the
Beale; and in some parts of Surrey as Kine, which suggests Gilbert
White's Cane, the local name in Hampshire for "a little reddish beast
not much bigger than a field mouse, but much longer," of his fifteenth
letter to Pennant. The more general name Weasel is the Anglo-Saxon
_Wesle_.

When Scotland suffered severely from a "plague" of Field Voles in
1892, the Board of Agriculture appointed a Committee of Enquiry, and
the examination of witnesses--farmers, keepers, shepherds--clearly
established the fact that the chief natural enemy of the Field Vole is
the Weasel, and that the gravest mistake had been made in destroying
and in exporting large numbers to our Dominions in order that they might
there reduce the "plague" of Rabbits. It was even suggested that we
should make good this error by importing Weasels from the Continent and
turning them loose. Other evidence showed that the Weasel is frequently
blamed by game-preservers for what is undoubtedly the work of the Stoat,
the Weasel preferring the lower-lying farmsteads, where Mice and Voles
are abundant, to the elevated ranges frequented by Grouse and Rabbits.
Apart from its preference for the smaller Rodents, the Weasel appears
to differ from the Stoat in being of a less hardy constitution, and
in winter at least requires the shelter afforded by granaries and
rickyards, where it co-operates with the Owls in an unceasing warfare
on the Rats and Mice. Its extra-British distribution agrees with that
of the Stoat.

Albino-Weasels, with pure white fur and pink eyes, have been recorded
several times, but they appear to be very rare.


*Polecat* (_Mustela putorius_, Linn.).

In contradistinction to the Sweet-mart already described, our
forefathers called the Polecat or Fitchew the Foumart or Foul Marten,
because the secretion from the glands under the tail is intolerably
acrid and mephitic; on this account the fur is considered useless, the
odour attaching to it permanently. Like the Marten, the Polecat, thanks
mainly to the unremitting vigilance of the gamekeeper, has become very
rare in this country. In this case there can be no doubt that the keeper
is fully justified, for there is no more destructive beast among our
native carnivora. It is still common throughout Europe, as far north as
central Scandinavia.

Though in general appearance similar to the Marten, the Polecat is
smaller, has shorter legs and a shorter tail, and differs in colour.
The entire length is about two feet, but of this the bushy tail accounts
for about seven inches. Its long coarse fur is dark brown on the upper
parts of the body, and black on the under surface. The head, also, is
blackish, relieved with white marks about the muzzle and between the
ears and eyes. The weight of a full-grown Polecat is about six pounds.

Its usual habitat is a wood or copse, not too far from a plunderable
farm; but it has no fixed type of dwelling, taking advantage of any
hole, be it a fox-earth, a rabbit-burrow, or a natural rock crevice;
often indeed a woodstack in the farmyard may be utilised. On the
approach of winter it looks out for some deserted building where it can
find shelter. Unlike the Marten, it is not much of a climber, and does
not exhibit the sprightly agility of that species. It is a nocturnal
hunter, and is an adept at finding entrance to a hen-house, where it has
been known to kill off every one of the inmates in a night, though it
could only make off with a solitary hen. Although it may consume the
brains of its victims on the spot, the bodies are always carried to its
lair for more leisured consumption. Its food includes eggs of all kinds,
rabbits, rats, mice, birds, fish, frogs, lizards, and snakes, including
the viper, whose poison is considered to be innocuous in the blood of
the Polecat. When it gets into the poultry yard, the superior size of
some of its victims does not alarm it; a goose will serve its turn as
well as a chicken. Bell tells of sixteen turkeys that were killed in one
night by a single Foumart; though, of course, it could not drag away one
of the carcasses. Its usual method of carrying smaller prey is to grip
them by the middle of the back, much as a retriever carries game. In
addition to the remains of hares, rabbits, numerous birds, and several
eels, C. St. John found in the larder of a she-polecat the bodies of
three kittens which he knew to have been drowned at least a quarter of a
mile away.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 48._ _F 74._
    *Polecat.*
      Mustela putorius.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 49._ _F 75._
    *Young Squirrels.*
      The side of the "drey" has been removed.]

The Polecat pairs about February, and from three to eight (mostly five
or six) young to a litter are born in April or May. The nest is made of
dry grass. There is probably a second litter a few months later.

The dentition of the Polecat, the Weasel, and the Stoat, is the same as
that of the Marten, except that there are only three premolar teeth on
each side of the jaws. In setting traps for Polecats the bait is found
to be rendered far more seductive by scenting it with musk.

      *      *      *      *      *

The tame Ferret, so largely bred for use in catching Rabbits and
destroying Rats, is an albino, probably of the Asiatic Polecat (_M.
eversmanni_), with yellowish-white fur and red eyes. Its employment
in hunting ground-game dates back certainly as far as to the Romans,
as evidenced by references in Pliny's Natural History. When all the
exits but one from a Rabbit "bury" have been netted, the Ferret,
properly muzzled, is turned into the one left open, and quickly drives
out all the occupants into the nets. In similar fashion Rats are
driven out of their holes to have their backs promptly broken by
terriers in waiting. Dark coloured Ferrets are known as Polecat
Ferrets, and appear to be hybrids between the Ferret and the ordinary
Polecat.


*Wild Cat* (_Felis silvestris_, Schreber).

When in England or Ireland we talk with keepers or other woodland folk,
and they happen to mention Wild Cats, let it be understood always that
_their_ wild cat is a domestic pussy that has tired of the soft indoor
life and become feral. Such cats are a terror to the gamekeeper on
account of their destruction of young pheasants, hares and rabbits,
and the tails of many of them ornament his gibbets.

To have even a slight chance of seeing the real British Wild Cat to-day,
we must seek it in North Wales, or preferably the north or north-west
of Scotland, its present restricted area in that country having as its
eastern boundary the Caledonian Canal. It inhabits the most lonely
and inaccessible mountain sides, hiding during the day in some rocky
fastness, prowling far and wide at night in search of prey. It is of
a general yellowish-grey colour, but individuals differ in their dark
brown markings, some having vertical stripes running down the sides from
a black longitudinal line down the middle of the back; in others these
are broken up to form spots. It has a squarish thick head and body, the
latter longer than in the Domestic Cat; but the thick bushy tail is
relatively shorter, ringed and ending in a long black brush. The limbs,
too, are longer than those of the tame cat, so that it stands higher. A
pair of dark stripes extend from the eyes and over the head to behind
the ears. The fur is long, soft and thick. The pads of the toes are not
quite black. The average length is about two feet nine inches, of which
the tail accounts for eleven inches; but there is a record of a Scottish
example measuring three feet nine inches in all.

Pennant (1776) says: "This animal may be called the British tiger; it is
the fiercest, and most destructive beast we have; making dreadful havoke
among our poultry, lambs and kids." C. St. John, nearer to our own time
(1845), says its strength and ferocity when hard pressed are perfectly
astonishing. Fully acquainted as he was with the wild life of the
more remote parts of Scotland, he adds: "I have heard their wild and
unearthly cry echo far in the quiet night as they answer and call to
each other. I do not know a more harsh and unpleasant cry than that
of the Wild Cat, or one more likely to be the origin of superstitious
fears in the mind of an ignorant Highlander." He describes how one day
whilst fishing in Sutherland, and having to climb over rocks to get
from one pool to another, he had a close personal encounter with one.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 50._ _F 76._
    *Squirrel's way with nuts.*
      Empty shells showing the neat work of the incisor teeth.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 51._ _F 77._
    *Grey Squirrel.*
      Sciurus cinereus.]

"In doing so, I sank through some rotten heather and moss up to my
knees, almost upon a Wild Cat, who was concealed under it. I was
quite as much startled as the animal herself could be, when I saw the
wild-looking beast so unexpectedly rush out from between my feet, with
every hair of her body standing on end, making her look twice as large
as she really was." Pursued by his three Skye terriers "she took refuge
in a corner of the rocks, where, perched in a kind of recess out of
reach of her enemies, she stood with her hair bristled out, and spitting
and growling like a common cat. Having no weapon with me, I laid down my
rod, cut a good-sized stick, and proceeded to dislodge her. As soon as
I was within six or seven feet of the place, she sprang straight at my
face over the dogs' heads. Had I not struck her in mid-air as she leaped
at me, I should probably have got some severe wound. As it was she fell
with her back half broken amongst the dogs, who, with my assistance,
despatched her. I never saw an animal fight so desperately, or one which
was so difficult to kill. If a tame cat has nine lives, a Wild Cat must
have a dozen."

The female makes a nest in some remote rock-cleft or hollow tree, where
in early summer she usually brings forth four or five kittens, which at
an early age spit angrily at any intruder.

The distribution of the Wild Cat includes Europe and Northern Asia to
the North Himalaya. Though formerly a beast of chase in England, it
appears never to have been a native of Ireland. Old English names for
it were Catamount and Cat-a-mountain.

Dental formula: _i 3/3, c 1/1, p 3/2, m 1/1 = 30_.


GNAWING ANIMALS: RABBIT, HARES, DORMOUSE, VOLES, MICE, RATS, AND
SQUIRRELS

*Squirrel* (_Sciurus vulgaris_, Linn.).

With the beautiful Squirrel, the most popular of all our native fauna,
we make the acquaintance of another order of animals, the Rodentia or
gnawing mammals, which is the most numerously represented of the orders
in our meagre list, Britain still possessing fifteen species of rodents.
Besides the Squirrel, the order Rodentia includes the Dormouse, the
Rats, Mice, and Voles, the Hares and Rabbit; and the characteristic
feature that brings them together is the chisel-like pattern of their
incisor teeth. (See Introduction.) They may be said to be the dominant
race of mammals in the present day, for whilst over a thousand species
are known to science, and these mostly of very wide geographical range,
there are vast and increasing numbers of individuals representing many
of the species. Whilst man is busy killing off the carnivora and the
birds of prey, these natural checks to the multiplication of the Rodents
are being missed seriously, and Rats, Hamsters, and Voles prove a
serious menace to man's agricultural produce, and the Rat to his health
owing to its instrumentality as a carrier of disease.

A distinctive character of the Rodents, additional to the chisel-teeth
and the absence of canines, is the possession of hairy linings to the
mouth, the external skin being continued into the sides of the mouth
behind the upper front teeth. In the Hares and Rabbits the whole of the
inside of the cheeks is covered with hair.

Very few of the Rodents are aquatic in their habits, and of these few
the Water Vole is the only British representative. Most of them are
burrowing animals, and excavate long runs and nesting places in the
earth; a few, like the Squirrels and Dormice, are arboreal. As a whole
the Rodents may be said to be vegetarians; but the Rats are omnivorous,
and the Water Vole though mainly herbivorous takes a little animal food.

The Squirrel is one of the most picturesque of our small mammals,
especially when seen sitting on his haunches on a tree branch, his plumy
tail curled up his back, his tufted ears erect, and his forepaws holding
a nut; or when making his prodigious leap from bough to bough. He is not
nearly so big a creature as he looks under these conditions, for if we
could pass the tape over him from the end of his snout to the tip of
his tail proper (that is, not including the hairs that extend beyond
the tip), we should find he only measures about fifteen and a half
inches, and of this length seven inches, or nearly half, is provided by
the tail. Examine his feet, and you will see that they are adapted
eminently for climbing. The forefeet have four fingers and a rudimentary
thumb, and the hind feet have five toes; the claws long, curved and
sharp-pointed, and the soles hairy. The muzzle is well furnished with
"whiskers," the prominent eyes are black and bright, and the large,
pointed ears bear tufts of long hairs in winter. The hind limbs are much
longer than the forelimbs, and the heel of the long foot touches the
surface upon which it rests. The upper parts and tail are brownish red
and the under parts white. Before winter, when the fur becomes softer
and thicker, a grey tinge is developed on the sides, and the ear-tufts
become longer and bushy; these are shed in the breeding season (early
summer). At times it may be found with the tail of a creamy tint.

One of the Squirrel's strong claims to popular favour is his diurnal
habits, which makes him better known by all who wander in the woods;
in one sense it is a pity it is so, for in the neighbourhood of large
towns the "sporting instinct" of 'Arry has led him to kill or mutilate
the Squirrel with sticks and stones. Not many years ago the numerous
Squirrels that added to the attractions of Richmond Park were shot by
the keepers to prevent 'Arry killing them! Ordinary intelligences
thought it would have been better to have disciplined 'Arry.

The Squirrel builds nests in the branches of the trees it affects, not
merely as nurseries, but for resting places. There may be several of
these in adjacent trees or in the one to which the builder is specially
attached. Some of these may be crows' or magpies' nests adapted for
the new tenants, or may be wholly the Squirrel's work. They are bulky
structures composed of twigs, strips of thin bark, moss, and leaves;
sometimes cup-shaped, others domed. These are usually known as "dreys";
but in parts of Surrey they are "jugs," squaggy-jugs to give them their
full name. The breeding nest is a huge ball (unless there is a roomy
hollow in the trunk that can be upholstered) with a side entrance. Here
in summer the three or four blind and naked young are born, and they
remain with their parents until themselves adult.

  [Illustration: *Skeleton of Squirrel.*]

The food of the Squirrel is fairly varied. In pine woods the cones
provide the staple dish, and the ground beneath a Squirrel's tree
will be found littered with chips and cores of the cone from which
the seeds have been extracted. This _débris_ should be looked for as an
unfailing sign that there are Squirrels in the wood. In beech woods they
rely largely on beech-mast, the sharp-edged triangular seeds contained
in the prickly nuts. They usually have a hazel-copse not far distant
whence they derive their favourite food in the autumn, storing up
considerable quantities in holes for use during the winter. Several
times when filling our own pockets with hazel-nuts we have met with
angry protests from a Squirrel who considered the place his own
preserve. Standing on a stout limb just overhead he would stamp his
forefeet and utter a little bark. Similar objection has been made at
times when we were filling our basket with the nutty Blusher Toadstool
(_Amanita rubescens_), of which some of the caps in a clump showed the
marks of the Squirrel's incisors. He is also fond of cherries, wild or
cultivated, and the shoots of Pines which contain the burrowing larvæ of
the Pine Tortrix moth. It is also accused of being so far carnivorous as
to consume bird's eggs and nestlings.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 52._ _F 80._
    *Nest of Dormouse.*
      Mother removing her young.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 53._ _G 81._
    *Squirrel.*
      Sciurus vulgaris.]

The Squirrel does not hibernate, as it is said by the older writers to
do. In the winter it certainly indulges in long naps; but on a fine day
it wakes up and visits its stores of food. It rarely descends to the
ground, except for the purpose of crossing a wide woodland road, or to
seek water at a stream. In connection with water, it may be said that
the Squirrel is an expert swimmer. Dental formula: _i 1/1, c 0/0, p 0/0,
m 5/4 = 22_.

The Squirrel is generally distributed in Great Britain and Ireland,
where there is sufficient woodland, and in similar situations in Europe
and Asia.


*Grey Squirrel* (_Sciurus cinereus_, Linn.).

In some places in the London district a light grey Squirrel may be
seen, and thought to be a colour variation of our native species. It is
really an American visitor, distinct in colour and without tufts to
the ears. Some years ago the caged specimens in the Zoological Gardens,
Regent's Park, had become so numerous that some of them were given their
liberty. Their numbers increased among the trees of the Gardens, and
they overflowed into the Park, where they became so familiar as to
accept food from the hands of the delighted children. Gradually, some
of them developed exploring tendencies and made their way to the wooded
grounds of suburban residences. British naturalists of a not-distant
future will probably have to include two species of Squirrels in their
lists.

      *      *      *      *      *

The pretty Chipmunk (_Tamias striatus_, Linn.), or Chipping Squirrel,
one of the Ground Squirrels, is another American species that has become
acclimatised in the London area. It lacks the long tufted ears of our
Squirrel, the tail is shorter, and there are pouches inside the cheeks.
Its general appearance is strikingly different from the Squirrel, for
though its ground colour is red-brown, the eye is set in a white band
divided into two stripes by a black line. A black stripe runs down the
middle of the back, and in addition there is a white stripe bordered by
black above and below along each side.

It feeds on nuts, beech-mast, grain, roots, and insects; migrating from
place to place as local food-supplies become scanty. It stores up food
for the winter like the Squirrel, carrying it to its caches by means of
the cheek-pouches. Though capable of climbing, and occasionally seen
ascending lofty trees, it is much more at home on the ground. It burrows
a retreat in the ground, if no suitable stump is available for
excavation. When startled it utters a cry of "chip-per-r-r."


*Dormouse* (_Muscardinus avellanarius_, Linn.).

The non-scientific observer of our native mammals satisfied himself long
ago that the pretty Dormouse was a miniature kind of Squirrel, and he
was helped to this conclusion by the general resemblance in colouring,
the form of the head, the prominent black eyes, large ears, and thickly
furred long tail; as well as by its arboreal habitat and its habit
of sitting up on its haunches and holding a nut or other food in its
forepaws. But the classifying naturalist has to look below the surface
to discover a sound basis for his work. Superficial resemblances are
often due to similarity of habit and habitat; and in this case the
internal structure of the Dormouse shows that it has closer affinity
with the Mice than with the Squirrels, though really distinct from both.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 54A._ _G 82._
      Seeking for thistle-seeds.
    *Harvest Mice.*]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 54B._ _G 82._
      Fighting for a wheat-ear.
    *Harvest Mice.*]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 55._ _G 83._
    *Dormouse.*
      Muscardinus avellanarius.]

The total length of the Dormouse is about five and a half inches, but
nearly half of this is contributed by the tail. The forelimbs, which
are much shorter than the hind limbs, are furnished with four separate
fingers and a rudimentary thumb; whilst the hind feet have five toes,
though the first of these is short and clawless. All the claws are
short; and on each foot there are six large pads. The fur of the upper
parts is light tawny coloured, and of the underside yellowish-white,
but the throat and adjoining part of the chest is a purer white.

  [Illustration: *Skeleton and Molars of Dormouse.*]

In the copse and thick hedgerow where the Dormouse is mostly to be
found, he must be sought after the brightness of day has departed;
for he is a nocturnal beast and spends the hours of sunshine in heavy
slumber. So deep is his somnolence, and so low his temperature, that one
not accustomed to his ways might easily imagine him to be actually dead.
It is not a case of "sleeping with one eye open" with the Dormouse; he
needs, as it were, to be shaken to arouse him. One autumn many years ago
we frequently found the empty shells of cob-nuts in our greenhouse,
and were somewhat puzzled to account for their presence. A thick row
of cob-bushes in our neighbour's garden ran along the back of the
greenhouse, but we never suspected that they were haunted by Dormice.
One day in selecting a flower-pot from a number of empty ones that lay
"nested" one within another a hoard of splendid nuts was found occupying
the available space in several of them. Then a common box mouse-trap was
set, and next morning it contained a plump Dormouse, curled up on its
back with all the appearance of death, and it was lifted out by the tail
without immediately awaking. Four or five were caught in this manner on
successive nights.

For diurnal privacy and comfort the Dormouse constructs a globular nest
of twigs, moss and grass, about three inches in diameter (sometimes
with a circular opening), which may be among the stubs in the coppice,
beneath a tussock of grass, or even suspended high up in the bushes.
The nursery nest is twice this size. In some districts the nest will be
constructed of the bark of old honeysuckle stems, which shreds off in
ribbons. The inner lining is of the same material more finely divided,
with a bed of leaves. Several litters of three or four, or even six or
seven, blind and naked young are born in spring or summer; but there
are also records of young being found in September or October. Having
regard, however, to the hibernating habit of the species it is probable
that these perish, for autumn-born young would scarcely be in fit
condition to go without food for a long period. In their first coat
the young are more grey than red, but gradually assume the adult tint.
There are no scent glands.

The adults have usually retired by the middle of October, by which
date they have prepared for a long sleep by accumulating much fat
beneath their coats, and make further provision by laying up a store
of nuts. The reason for the latter is that the Dormouse's sleep is not
continuous. It wakes up at intervals, has a good meal, and resumes its
sleep. Its activities are not resumed until the spring, so that its
retirement lasts nearly for half the year. Its winter nest is usually
under moss among roots, or far underground. Its sleep is profound,
without breathing, and it becomes absolutely cold.

The food of the Dormouse is much the same as the Squirrel's, but it is
particularly fond of the hazel-nut, a good fat producer, and the "haws"
of the whitethorn. It does not crack the shell of the nut, but gnaws
quite a small hole, extracting the kernel piecemeal. In addition it eats
many insects, and sometimes indulges in birds' eggs or even the birds
themselves, if they can be captured.

The Dormouse is frequently kept as a pet for children, for which its
gentle, fearless manner and non-disposition to bite seem to make it
specially suitable; but we have found it regarded by youngsters as "a
bit of a fraud" in this character, for as they have said, "It doesn't
wake up until we are asleep." We have found that in semi-captivity it
woke on most evenings throughout the winter to enjoy a supper of apples
and nuts. Freshly captured specimens become tame at once. Ours were
fond of climbing the long window curtains and hunting for flies--for
the Dormouse is insectivorous as well as frugivorous. It is not given
to the gnawing of wood, like the true Mice; and it is said to be one
of the creatures that are immune to Viper poison.

The Dormouse is a European animal, but it does not extend northwards
of Sweden. In agreement with this distribution, it does not occur in
Scotland. From Ireland it is entirely absent. Eastward it extends only
to Asia Minor.

The head is comparatively large, with blunt muzzle, prominent eyes,
broadly rounded short ears, and long whiskers. The dentition is much
the same as that of the Squirrel: there is a single large incisor on
each side of the upper and lower jaws, and one premolar and three
molars after a considerable blank: _i 1/1, c 0/0, pm 1/1, m 3/3 = 20_.
The enamel ridges of these cheek-teeth constitute a rasping surface
such as no other mammal possesses.

The soft, dense fur of the Dormouse was of repute anciently as a remedy
for ear diseases and paralysis. The English name can be traced back
certainly to the fifteenth century, and is considered to embody the verb
_dorm_ = to doze, still used in the North of England, which brings it
very close to the Sleepmouse of Southern England and Sleeper of other
parts. Derrymouse, Dorymouse, and Dozing-mouse are other local variants.

Albino varieties are very rare; but individuals with white-tipped tails
are reported not infrequently.


*Harvest Mouse* (_Micromys minutus_, Pallas).

With the exception of the Lesser Shrew the pretty little Harvest Mouse
is the smallest of British mammals. It long held that distinction, until
the Lesser Shrew was shown to be a distinct species and not the young of
the Common Shrew. The Harvest Mouse will always be associated with the
name of Gilbert White, for it was in his letters to Pennant that it was
first made known as a British mouse, and its appearance and habits were
published by Pennant in his "British Zoology."

The head and body combined measure less than two and a half inches,
and the nearly naked, scaly tail is almost as long. The thick, soft
fur of the upper side is yellowish-red in colour, and of the under
parts white; the two colours being rather sharply separated. The tail
is exceedingly pliant and prehensile, and serves as an additional foot,
being at once coiled around any suitable object within reach. It has
bright black eyes, short blunt nose, and short rounded ears, the latter
about one-third the length of the head.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 56._ _G 86._
    *Harvest Mouse (_enlarged_).*
      Micromys minutus.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 57._ _G 87._
    *Nest of Harvest Mouse.*
      The wonderfully woven ball which serves as nursery.]

It is found chiefly in the South of England, becoming less abundant as
we go north. In Scotland it is very scarce, and it does not occur in
Ireland. It is more generally distributed on the Continent, where it
ranges from Northern Italy to Russia and Siberia. The usual habitats
of the Harvest Mouse are pastures and cornfields, where it climbs the
stems of the tall grasses and corn plants, cutting off the ripe ears
and carrying them to the ground where it picks out the grain. During
the summer it feeds largely upon insects, caught in the same situations.
At the same season it stores up much grain in burrows for use in the
winter between its periods of sleep. Sometimes, however, instead of
wintering in burrows in the earth, it tunnels into hayricks, and if
undisturbed may even bring up a litter or two in the rick; as a rule
it constructs the wonderful nursery which has won human admiration ever
since White made the species known.

This is a ball-shaped nest about three inches in diameter formed of
neatly plaited and woven blades of wheat or grass, with no definite
opening, the grass blades being merely pushed aside to make entrance or
exits where required, and closing again by their own elasticity. There
is just sufficient room inside for the mother-mouse and her blind and
naked offspring, whether they number four, eight, or even nine. This
nest is suspended at some little distance--about half a foot--above
the ground, several stems being incorporated in its walls to give it
stability, or it may be lodged between the stem and leaf of a thistle,
or a knapweed, in blackthorn bushes or broom. The bed is made of split
leaves of corn or grass. The nests are not always so tough as that
described by White, which "was so compact and well-filled that it would
roll across the table without being discomposed, though it contained
eight young." Several litters are produced throughout the year, varying
in the number of young from five to nine; and one might expect that the
species would be represented by individuals as numerous as those of the
House Mouse. It must be remembered, however, that the diurnal habits of
the Harvest Mouse and its methods of feeding expose it to the attacks
of the larger birds; whilst the smaller carnivorous beasts do not
neglect it. When the corn is cut the Harvest Mouse is often carried in
the sheaves to the barn; in that case it spends the winter there, and
does not go to sleep. It is considered that the modern reaping machine
has caused a great reduction in its numbers.

Until about December the young of the year resemble the House Mouse in
colour, and may easily be mistaken for it; then from the hind quarters
forwards they begin to assume the redder tint. As the adult Harvest
Mouse weighs only about a sixth of an ounce, it is not surprising that
it should be able to sit on an ear of corn to which its capable little
hands and prehensile tail have enabled it to climb with ease. But the
familiar name must not delude us into supposing that it is only found
in or about cornfields. It is also a denizen of the tall, rank herbage
along ditches and untrimmed hedgerows. In winter it is frequently found
about the lower parts of wheat and oat stacks.

Where the Harvest Mouse occurs it may be watched at close range by
the quiet observer. Though as a rule timid and gentle in demeanour, it
becomes at times savage and cannibalistic. It lacks the offensive odour
of the House Mouse. Its voice is of a low chirping character, and has
been likened to that of the wren.

With a more intimate knowledge of the structure of the various species
of Mice, it has been found necessary to break up the old Linnean genus
_Mus_ into several smaller genera. In this process our little Harvest
Mouse becomes the sole British representative of the genus _Micromys_.


*Wood Mouse* (_Apodemus sylvaticus_, Linn.).

An alternative name for the Wood Mouse is Long-tailed Field Mouse, and
but for the fact that Linnæus dubbed it _Mus sylvaticus_, it would be
better to adopt Pennant's designation, for it is much more an inhabitant
of the field, the hedgerow, and the garden than of the wood. It is,
indeed, the cause of something approaching despair to the keeper of the
kitchen garden; for this is the miscreant that ploughs up and eats the
newly sown peas that have not been rolled in red lead or soaked in
paraffin. He has also a great fondness for strawberries at the moment
they have become ripe.

The Wood Mouse is about three and a half inches long from the long
snout to the base of the tail; and the tail by itself falls only a
very little short of that length. The fur on the upper parts is a dark
yellow-brown; the under parts white. In adults the line of demarcation
is always distinct. There is a spot of buff or orange on the chest
whose development in certain local races has enabled recent systematists
to make five species out of this one. It has large and prominent dark
eyes--for it is chiefly of nocturnal habits--and its long oval ears have
the inner margin turned inwards at the base. The tail is dark brown
above, and whitish below. It is the commonest of the British mammals in
country places, but less frequent in Ireland. It is common in Europe as
far north as Sweden and Norway.

As a rule it constructs its burrows underground or under the roots of
trees, and here it stores up great quantities of nuts, haws, grain, and
smaller seeds for use in winter, when it becomes inactive, though it
does not really hibernate. But if there is a house handy to which it
can gain entrance in late autumn, it prefers to become the guest of
those whose garden has been a boon to it through the spring and summer.
We have had them spend the winter cosily in our rolled-up tennis
nets, stowed away in a shed to keep them dry in the off-season; and
as potatoes were stored in the same place they consumed a number of
these. On several other occasions Wood Mice were detected attempting
impudently to enter the dwelling house by the back door. Once an entire
family--mater, pater, and five active youngsters--succeeded in this
enterprise; but they left incriminating evidence of their presence,
though they were suspected of being ordinary House Mice. Accordingly a
break-back trap, baited with cheese, was set one evening, and within
half an hour its loud clap proclaimed its effectiveness. This trap
appeared to show that the Wood Mouse is a simple-minded, unsuspecting
creature, for it was reset with the same uneaten bit of cheese-rind for
bait again and again, and no sooner was the trapper's back turned than
another member of the family was secured. Seven times it sprang, and
then its inaction appeared to be due to the fact that there were no more
possible victims, for we saw no further traces of the mice. Its general
resemblance to the House Mouse frequently leads to its being mistaken
for that species.

There are several litters of young during the year, and these vary
in number from five to nine--an alarming rate of increase; but,
fortunately, the Barn Owl that hunts the hedgerow inch by inch, every
evening, takes a heavy toll that keeps the numbers down. The Fox, the
Weasel, the Hedgehog, and the Viper also do their part.

The Wood Mouse is a very active creature, running and jumping in zigzag
fashion, climbing high in the bushes in order to obtain berries, leaping
from considerable heights, and swimming well when occasion requires.
Although an accomplished excavator, it often makes use of unmortared
stone walls for its runs and stores. It wanders widely in its search
for berries, bulbs, and grain. In the matter of berries, it is not the
juicy pulp that it desires but the seeds, which it will carefully pick
out. It prefers the larger grains from the cornfield to those of a
grass-meadow. It is both timid and gentle in disposition, and on account
of its short sight, it may be approached closely and caught with the
hand.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 58._ _G 90._
    *House Mice.*
      A fierce battle between rival males.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 59._ _G 91._
    *Wood Mouse.*
      Apodemus sylvaticus.]

Its stores of food are often communal, a colony of mice contributing,
for it is not always of solitary habit. These stores are of the most
varied character. Of the very miscellaneous items on its menu a few may
be mentioned: leaves of clover and dandelion, with flower-buds of the
latter, nuts of all kinds, apples, grapes, gooseberries, crocus and
hyacinth bulbs (Millais says the Dutch were taught to multiply hyacinths
by division of the bulbs through observing the effects of this mouse's
attacks), acorns, rose and bramble seeds, slow-worms, eggs and--putty!
It has been known to enter beehives, and not only to eat the honeycomb,
but impudently to construct its nest there. Deserted birds' nests are
often adapted to its use, either as a dining-room when seeking haws in
the hedges, or as a permanent habitation, in this case roofed with moss.

The breeding nest is a globular structure of dry grass, and is usually
built in a separate chamber of the underground run, but occasionally is
on the surface or under a heap of hedge _débris_. Some of the burrows
may extend as much as three feet underground.

      *      *      *      *      *

Towards the end of last century, Mr. de Winton called attention to
what was considered to be a new British mouse--the Yellow-necked Mouse
(_Apodemus flavicollis_), distinguished from the Wood Mouse by its
larger size, the head and body measuring four and a quarter inches,
and the brown spot on the chest commonly found in the Wood Mouse
developed into an orange cross whose arms are connected with the upper
side coloration--described as golden brown. This is a feature that at
once attracts attention where this form occurs; but there is another
distinction out of sight--there being three additional bony joints in
the tail, that is thirty instead of the twenty-seven in the tail of
an ordinary Wood Mouse. Whether it is a really distinct species or
the typical form of the Wood Mouse is at present open to question. It
is found chiefly in the southern and eastern portions of England, but
its distribution also includes Northamptonshire, Herefordshire, and
Northumberland.

Other local races have been distinguished also as distinct species or
sub-species under the name of Hebridean Field Mouse (_A. hebridensis_)
with the white of the under parts tinted with buff; Fair Isle Field
Mouse (_A. fridariensis_), like the Yellow-necked but without the
collar; St. Kilda Field Mouse (_A. hirtensis_) with brown under parts;
and Bute Field Mouse (_A. butei_), darker, with shorter tail and ears.


*House Mouse* (_Mus musculus_, Linn.).

The most familiar, the most widely distributed and most numerous of the
mammals of our country, the Common or House Mouse, stands in little need
of nice description. Although of a timid and retiring nature, it can on
occasion exhibit not only bold familiarity, but actual friendliness to
mankind to which it has been attached for ages, preferring to live in
palace or hovel with human beings to the open-air life of woods and
fields. Not that he is not to be found in the open air; but then it is
mostly in the immediate neighbourhood of a house, where he can make his
runs in ricks of corn--mountains of food. It is this easy method of
despoiling man of his goods that caused the Mouse in ancient days to
attach himself to the huge creature that is so impotent in ridding
himself of small adversaries. The domestic Mouse is considered to have
had its home, its place of origin, in Asia, whence it has spread to
every part of the world where man has gone. In most cases, it may be
presumed with safety, it has travelled cosily stowed away in his stores
and merchandise, so that as soon as the human migrant has built himself
a home he finds that the Mouse is in occupation, and demanding a share
of his food. In spite of all his serious depredations, our literature
teems with evidence that the victim has always retained some kindly
feeling for his pretty four-footed oppressor.

For the sake of uniformity, let us say that the head and body of the
House Mouse measure a little more than three and up to four inches,
and the tapering, flexible, and sparsely haired, scale-ringed tail may
slightly exceed that measurement. It has a pointed snout, the bright,
bead-like eyes are black, the large, sensitive brownish ears are nearly
half the length of the head, and the soft, brownish-grey fur is only
a little paler on the under parts. Outdoor specimens are often more
yellow-brown in coloration. As compared with the Wood Mouse we have
this more dusky and uniform coloration, shorter whiskers, smaller eyes,
stouter and less flexible tail, and shorter legs. The thumb of the hand
is reduced to a mere tubercle.

It is very active and silent in its movements, emerging from a tiny
hole in floor-board or skirting and gliding without sound over the
floor, ascending with ease table-legs or walls, and then, if alarmed,
springing with a prodigious leap back to its hole. Concrete floors will
not suffice to keep it out of a house, for it will climb the outer walls
and enter the upper windows, thence making itself secret ways to the
lower floors behind woodwork or plastered walls, till it reaches the
kitchen, the larder or the storeroom. Though it shows by its preferences
that its natural rôle is that of grain thief, it will eat any kind of
human food and much besides: in a word, it is omnivorous.

Its great success as a species is due to this adaptability and to its
astonishing fecundity. It produces four or five litters during the
year, each consisting of five or six, or even up to twelve, blind
and naked young which develop so rapidly that in a fortnight they are
capable of independence. At the age of six weeks they may begin to
breed.

The House Mouse exhibits a considerable range of variation in colour,
both darker and lighter than the type, and many of these variations have
been bred from and their peculiarities perpetuated and accentuated in
confinement as "fancy" mice. Of these the most familiar are the White
Mice, really albinos with pure white fur, pink eyes, feet, and tail.
There are also dark, nearly black variations, and spotted examples.
Sometimes one is surprised at night to find that the house is tenanted
by a musical mouse that runs up the scale in what appears to be an
attempt at a little song. It has been ascertained, however, that these
so-called singing mice are afflicted with a form of asthma, and the
supposed vocal efforts are merely the manifestation of their physical
trouble. We have had experience of musical mice in another way. For
several nights in succession weird sounds came from the pianoforte
which suggested that fairies were using it as a harp, twanging the
wires instead of striking them with the hammers. An examination of the
interior seemed to indicate the actual performer, for a little pile
of Spanish nuts, stolen from the table, was discovered inside; and the
twanging of the notes was caused probably by the mouse climbing them. A
trap baited with a shelled nut put a stop to these performances. Bateson
mentions several cases of hairless Mice, except for a few whiskers.

A local race of the House Mouse found in St. Kilda is sometimes
dignified with species rank under the name of _Mus muralis_. Its
distinguishing features include less slender feet and tail, and
slight peculiarities of the palate.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 60._ _G 94._
    *House Mouse.*
      Mus musculus.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 61._ _G 95._
    *Alexandrine Rat.*
      An alien stowaway from North Africa.]


*Black Rat* (_Epimys rattus_, Linn.).

Not many years ago a good deal of modified regret was expressed because
it was thought that the Black Rat--the real old British Rat as it was
called--was being exterminated by that vulgar upstart the Brown Rat--the
Hanoverian or Norway Rat. These laments were mainly called forth by its
comparative scarcity in old London warehouses where it had formerly been
very numerous. One would have thought it a matter for rejoicing that
there was a possibility of our having only one species of the rat pest
to contend with instead of two. The disappearance of the Black Rat was
remarked by Pennant as far back as 1778. However, later observations
tend to show that the Black Rat is far from being extinguished even in
the City of London, where the old type of warehouse is being rapidly
replaced by ferro-concrete erections with carefully trapped drains. The
intelligence of the Rat is equal to little impediments of that sort, and
if it cannot get in by way of the basement it can climb walls and enter
by the attic windows.

On the score of sentiment we need not distinguish between the Black Rat
and the Brown. They are both Asiatic aliens, though the Black Rat had
been settled here for several centuries before the Brown Rat followed
in his tracks. Nothing definite is known as to the date of his arrival.
Geologists assure us that he was not among the indigenes, for even the
most recent strata yield no remains of his bones or teeth. He is known
to have been on the other side of the dividing Channel in the thirteenth
century, and to have reached England soon after, and quickly to have
become a nuisance. He had a clear run of over four hundred years in
which to occupy the most remote portions of the island, before he had
to meet with keen competition in the form of the Brown Rat. He reached
Ireland in the twelfth century, if not earlier.

The Black Rat is of more slender proportions than the better known
Brown Rat, and much smaller, the dimensions of the head and body being
about seven inches, whilst the scaly-ringed and almost hairless tail is
more than eight inches. The long, pointed snout projects far beyond the
short lower jaw; the whiskers are long and black. Though presenting the
appearance denoted by its popular name, the glossy blue-black fur has a
good sprinkling of grey on the upper surface, whilst below it is dark
grey. The large, thin ears are naked, and about half the length of the
head. The feet are pink, with scale-like rings on the underside of the
digits and five pads on the sole. The thumb of the forefeet is reduced
to a mere tubercle.

Although the Rats have much to do with garbage and offensive matters,
they take the greatest of care to maintain their own cleanliness and a
spruce appearance, spending much of their time in cleaning their fur
and paws. One of the reasons for regretting the possible extirpation
of the Black Rat by his more pushful relative, was, no doubt, his less
ferocious ways and well-known milder disposition--a trait which is
obvious to any one who has handled the domesticated albino, or White
Rat, which is generally considered to be of this species.

Where--as in India--the Black Rat lives a more out-of-door life, it
climbs trees and mostly makes its nest in them. With us the doe collects
a good quantity of suitable materials--rags, paper, straw, etc.--and
constructs a roomy nest which she uses for successive broods, which come
at short intervals. Seven or eight is the usual number for a litter, and
there are five or six broods in a year.

In the matter of food, both the Rats are omnivorous, and it is,
therefore, useless to attempt to give a list of substances acceptable to
them. Fish, flesh, fowl, or vegetable, crustacean or mollusc--anything
that can be digested--is eaten by them; and if all else fails they will
eat their own kin. In this matter the Brown Rat, from his superior size
and ferocity, has the advantage, as is emphasised by an incident told by
a professional rat-catcher to Frank Buckland. He said that having had a
successful haul in infested premises he had turned all his captures both
Black and Brown into a large wire cage, intending to have a little sport
next day with a few cronies and a terrier or two. To his astonishment
next morning all the Black Rats had disappeared and only the Brown--or
some of them--remained.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 62._ _G 96._
    *Black Rat.*
      Epimys rattus.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 63._ _H 97._
    *Brown Rat's Nest.*
      This litter of eight is a medium number.]

A sub-species, the Alexandrine Rat (_Epimys rattus alexandrinus_), with
brown back and dusky underside, is frequently introduced with shipping
from North Africa, and has been recorded from Lundy Island and Shetland.
Another sub-species, the Tree or Roof Rat (_E. rattus frugivorus_),
common in the Mediterranean region, often appears in our ports. It has
long, soft and dense fur, of light grey or brown on the upper parts and
whitish below (pure white to pale yellow), and the feet usually white
above.

The Black Rat is more of a climber than a burrower; more cleanly in its
feeding than its brown rival. The pink-skinned young are born without
fur, sight, or hearing.


*Brown Rat* (_Epimys norvegicus_, Erxleben).

The Brown Rat still has two alternative names applied to it, though the
inappropriateness of one was shown by Pennant more than 150 years ago.
These names are Norway Rat and Hanoverian Rat. Pennant does not mention
the second, but of the first he says that the Brown Rat is quite unknown
in Scandinavia and is not mentioned by Linnæus. The name Hanoverian
appears to have been given to it because it was believed to have made
its entry into England with George I. Writing in 1776, Pennant says:
"This animal never made its appearance in England till about forty
years ago." Recent researches into its distribution make it appear
that the species originated in Trans-Baikal, whence it has spread
westwards, even to America by way of the British Isles. Both species
hit upon an improved method of extending their range over the earth.
The old-fashioned natural way for mammals to spread was for a few
adventurous individuals to make food-finding excursions beyond the
district in which they were born; but climate, mountain ranges, broad
rivers or seas often checked further progress. The Rats discovered that
by keeping close to man they were always in the neighbourhood of food,
whether intended for himself or his domestic animals; and even these
tame creatures would at times serve for the Rats' meals. So when they
found man loading ships with grain and other desirable food they
decided to go with him. Often they contrived to get into his bales
of merchandise and so conveyed to the hold. If not, there were always
mooring ropes which served as bridges from the quay to the vessel. And
so they got themselves conveyed in comfort, sure that wherever the goods
went there would be settlements of their biped friends to house them and
serve their ends generally. Now, wherever man has established himself,
you are almost certain that the Rat is close at hand.

Mr. A. W. Rees, in his interesting "Creatures of the Night," has
summarised the chief characteristics of this species in a paragraph.
He says: "Brown Rats are an insufferable nuisance. There is no courtesy
or kindness in the nature of the Rat; no nesting bird is safe from his
attacks, unless her home is beyond his reach in some cleft of a rock
that he cannot scale or in some fork of a tree that he cannot climb. He
is a cannibal--even the young and the sick of his own kind become the
victims of his rapacious hunger--and he will eat almost anything, living
or dead, from the refuse in a garbage heap to the dainty egg of a
willow-wren in the tiny, domed nest amid the briars at the margin of
the river."

As compared with the Black Rat he is more heavily built, and the
combined length of head and body is eight or nine inches, whilst the
thicker, scaly-ringed tail is only equal to, or less than, the length
of the body alone. His head is proportionately shorter, with blunter
muzzle, much smaller ears and more prominent though smaller eyes. The
fur on the upper parts is grey-brown with a tawny tinge, and dirty white
on the under parts. The ears, feet, and tail are flesh-coloured. It
sometimes occurs with black or blackish fur, and is then frequently
mistaken for the Black Rat; but the relative length of tail to body is
a superficial character by which they can be separated at once. There
is a black race of this species on the east coast of Ireland to which
some authors have given the distinctive name of _Epimys hibernicus_. It
appears to have extended its range from Ireland to the Hebrides. In one
form or other the Brown Rat has extended to nearly every part of the
British Islands and their islets.

  [Illustration: *Skeleton and Molars of Brown Rat.*]

The Brown Rat becomes a parent at the age of six months, and produces
four or five litters in a year. Ordinarily these consist of from four to
ten blind, deaf, and naked young; but much larger litters are on record,
the highest of which we have seen a note being twenty! Sometimes the
young grow up hairless or blind. Some years ago we disturbed a nest in
the garden from which issued half a dozen young Rats about four inches
long (head and body), all blind. They moved about in a very uncertain
manner, and were easily despatched. Similar cases have been recorded.
At the meeting of the Zoological Society in December, 1902, a hairless
Rat was exhibited on behalf of Mr. G. A. Doubleday, one of three
captured at Leyton, Essex, in the same condition. The skin, which was
slate coloured, was wrinkled into folds all over the body. Millais
mentions a hairless Rat with yellow skin.

In the country--where it is known as the Barn Rat--the Tawny Owl and the
Weasel are the farmer's best friends as Rat-catchers, though they do not
always get the consideration that their services merit. The Weasel tribe
are admittedly also destroyers of poultry; but the depredations of the
Rat in this connection are much more serious. They do much mischief in
chicken-runs, and being good swimmers and divers, even ducklings afloat
are not safe from them. If a pair of ducks have made their nest on
an island for safety, rats will swim to it and feast on the eggs, or,
should these be hatched, kill the ducklings and eat them. It is more
than probable that much of the destruction of pheasant and partridge
eggs debited to the account of the Hedgehog, has really been carried out
by the Rat. Jordan ("Forest Tithes") says he has known a Rat or Rats
take a dozen eggs from a wild duck's nest and bury them in the soft
peaty bottom of a moorland runnel, close to the nest. "I traced the
whole proceeding and dug the eggs out with my fingers."

It does not matter where it is living, in town or country, the Rat is
equally destructive to property and live stock. We have known them to
destroy a crop of garden peas by ascending the pea-sticks, night after
night, lacerating all the pods that had fair-sized peas within, and
eating out every one. They skulk along the hedgerows until they reach
the "cave" where the farmer has stored his mangolds to secure them from
frost. Scores of them will burrow through the cover of earth and eat
their fill of the succulent roots. Well is it for the farmer if the
Weasels have not been exterminated on his land, for they are the most
efficient guardians of his hoard. Hawks and Foxes render similar service
if the Rat wanders out into the open moorland; but the Rat rarely
ventures far from cover of some sort.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 64._ _H 100._
    *Brown Rat.*
      Epimys norvegicus.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 65._ _H 101._
    *Water Vole Swimming.*
      This fine swimmer is making for his burrow in the bank.]

There is a melanic or black form of the Brown Rat which is frequently
mistaken for the true Black Rat, though the more bulky build and blunter
muzzle should show the difference at sight. First recorded from Ireland
in 1837, it was considered a distinct species under the name of the
Irish Rat. Its fur is uniformly dusky above and below, and the skin
is of similar hue. The variation is now known not to be confined to
Ireland, but to occur in many parts of England and in the Outer
Hebrides. White, fawn coloured, and pied variations also occur.

The versatility of the Brown Rat is such that it would be idle to
attempt any description of its habits. Every one knows at least some
part of the story, and the whole of it would require a book. It is the
most powerful natural enemy that civilised man has had to contend with,
for it attacks him in his own strongholds, spoiling and wasting his food
stores and destroying his property in general. There was a time when
it could be looked upon more as a commensal because of the valuable
scavenging work it performed; but since man has learned that it is safer
to attend to this work himself the Rat has become a mere parasitical
nuisance. Sir J. Crichton-Browne has estimated the annual loss to this
country through the depredations of Rats at £15,000,000 (pre-war
figures, 1908).

The Rat is so thoroughly omnivorous that it would be equally absurd to
attempt a list of its food: there is nothing that can be eaten that the
Rat will not eat. Therefore, there is no possibility of starving him
out. Rat-killing campaigns that do not cover every square yard of the
country can only have the effect of temporarily mitigating the nuisance;
for the Rats' fertility is so great and so rapid that the loss of
nine-tenths of a generation is quickly made good. A continental
statistician has worked out the theoretical progeny of a single
pair of Rats after ten years as reaching the appalling figure of
48,319,698,843,030,344,720! Of course, there is no great value in such
a calculation, for it proceeds upon the assumption that every individual
lives to become a parent, whereas in fact the mortality in all creatures
of such fecundity is enormous, and there are few if any more survivors
this year than there were last year. In other words, the great fertility
of a race only suffices to make up the wastage from enemy attacks. But
the figures serve to show what might happen if the natural control by
Weasels, Stoats, Hawks, and Owls were suspended for a short time. But
Rats are disseminators of bubonic plague with the aid of their special
species of flea.


*Water Vole* (_Arvicola amphibius_, Linn.).

In certain directions it appears that failure is the lot of those
who have spent the greater part of their lives in trying to spread
enlightened views as to the true nature of our native animals and
plants. Among a number of such failures two or three may be briefly
cited here: you cannot persuade a countryman that a slow-worm is not a
snake, that all snakes are not poisonous and to be killed at sight, and
that the comparatively inoffensive rodent now to be described is not a
rat and of rat-like nature. The name of Water Rat is general as a true
folk-name.

The Voles are of heavier build than the Rats, the head is shorter,
thicker, and the muzzle rounded instead of being pointed; the limbs
are shorter and the hairy tail is not much more than half the length
of the head and body. The eyes are small and short-sighted, and the
small round ears scarcely project from the surrounding fur, though when
listening intently the Vole erects them and makes them more conspicuous.
Linnæus, following Ray, described the Water Vole as having webbed feet,
but this is incorrect, though the toes of the hinder foot are connected
at their base. They are naked and pale pink beneath, with five rounded
pads, but above are clothed in stiff hairs. The thick, long, glossy fur
is of a warm reddish-brown above, sprinkled with grey, and on the under
parts yellowish-grey. This applies chiefly to the male; the female is
slightly smaller than her mate, is less bright and more greyish-brown in
her coloration. The average length of head and body is seven and a half
inches, and of the tapering, ringed tail about four and a half inches.
It sometimes occurs with black fur, especially in East Anglia and
Scotland; and these examples are usually reported as the Black Rat.
Some modern authorities recognise it as a sub-species (_reta_).

  [Illustration: _Pl. 66._ _H 102._
    *Water Voles fighting.*
      Arvicola amphibius.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 67._ _H 103._
    *Young Field Voles.*
      Average litter of five; eyes still closed.]

Although it has not the webbed feet that Ray attributed to it, its
swimming and diving powers are of a high order. Often in walking near a
stream or pond, the loud sudden "plop" as it drops into the water is our
first intimation that the Vole is near. We may occasionally track his
course under water, but as a rule he at once disappears into his burrow
in the bank, sometimes by an under water entrance, and may regain the
bank by an upper exit. These burrows, in which the Vole spends most of
the daytime, often occasion considerable damage, as to the dykes in the
Fenland, and where ponds have been constructed by artificial banking.
Otherwise, the Water Vole must be pronounced an entirely inoffensive
rodent, in spite of the libels that accuse him of capturing waterfowl
and fish for which he is unfitted. He has been seen grubbing among the
mud at the bottom for caddisworms and other insects, freshwater snails
and the like; otherwise his food appears to be restricted mainly to the
stems of horsetails and the succulent grasses, flags, loosestrife, and
sedges that grow along the banks. Mr. A. Patterson says that in East
Anglia he eats dead fish and living swan-mussels--also crayfish; but
prefers the stems of the succulent grasses that grow in shallow ditches.
That he is not a strict vegetarian appears to be proved by the fact that
he is sometimes captured in rat-traps that have been baited with meat.
St. John says that in spring, before the grasses are much grown the
Water Vole feeds largely upon toads, rejecting the feet which it bites
off and leaves in little heaps. We have been assured by a Surrey
woodlander of long experience and an intelligent observer, that he has
known the Water Vole on several occasions to indulge in very young
chickens; but he admits this is a very rare occurrence and that it
scarcely detracts from the Water Vole's reputation as a vegetarian.

On the flanks, about halfway between the shoulder and the tail, will be
found a pair of wrinkled glands which secrete a greasy matter with a
musky odour. These are present in both sexes. Though the odour probably
protects the Water Vole from some animals that might otherwise prey upon
it, it does not appear to be objectionable to the Heron, the Owl, or the
Stoat. When, to escape from real or fancied danger on land it suddenly
dives into the water, it is not always to safety, for pike, large trout,
and eels have been observed to seize them.

The Water Vole does not hibernate; but it has been said to lay up
considerable stores for the inclement season when food will be scarce
and difficult to find. These stores consist of nuts, beech-mast, acorns,
and the creeping underground stems of the horsetails. During the milder
nights that come in winter he issues from his chamber in the bank and
feeds upon young willow shoots; and though mainly a nocturnal animal
will often take advantage of the higher temperature at midday during
the winter. It is often found in fields far away from any water.

The female constructs a thick-walled globular nest of reeds and grasses
in the chamber under the bank, or in a hollow willow or a bird's nest,
and there brings forth her litter of about five (two to seven) naked and
blind young. The process is repeated three or four times during the
season.

The Water Vole is generally distributed in Britain, but does not occur
in Ireland, or the Scottish islands; nor is it known outside Britain.

The surface of the molar teeth in all the Voles presents a pattern of
alternating triangular prisms. In the Water Vole and the Field Vole
these teeth are not rooted in the jaw; in the Bank Vole they are in the
adult.

In addition to the definitely black sub-species (_reta_) referred to
above, the southern brown sub-species occasionally throws up black,
pied, or albino variations.


*Field Vole* (_Microtus agrestis_, Linn.).

To country folk the Field Vole is known generally as the Short-tailed
Field Mouse, to distinguish it from the Wood Mouse which is also the
Long-tailed Field Mouse. Being different in organisation from the true
Mice the attempt was made in natural history works many years ago to
substitute the name Vole for these blunt-muzzled Rodents. Recently,
after about a hundred years' use of the word Vole in all the works
on mammals, Mr. Barrett-Hamilton has objected to it, at least in
connection with the present species, on the ground that Field Vole
is a duplication, the word Vole meaning "field." This would be almost
as bad as Mr. Barrett-Hamilton's own use of such scientific names as
_Pipistrellus pipistrellus_, _Barbastella barbastella_, _Martes martes_,
and _Capreolus capraea_, which are duplications in the same language! In
East Anglia this species is the Marsh Mouse, and in Surrey Dog Mouse.

The general appearance of the Field Vole is so different from that of
a Mouse that it should be obvious at a glance that they are not very
closely related. The general stumpy form with the blunt oval outline of
the head, the short, round ears just protruding from the reddish-brown
fur, and the short, rather stiff tail, are points sufficient to
distinguish it from either of our Mice. The colour mentioned refers to
the upper parts; on the underside the fur is greyish-white. The hind
feet have six pads on the under surface as compared with the five of the
Water Vole. The length of head and body is about four inches, and of the
tail only an inch and a quarter, that is, about a third of the body
length.

The chief resorts of the Field Vole are meadows and damp pastures, but
it will also be found in gardens, orchards, and plantations, doing
enormous damage in every place, for its food is mainly of a vegetable
character. It must, however, be placed to its credit that it catches
and consumes large numbers of insects, among them the destructive Larch
Sawfly (_Nematus erichsonii_). It has extensive underground stores where
it lays up food for the winter; but it is a mistake to say, as it has
been said repeatedly, that the underground burrows include its summer
nest. These burrows connect with a network of above-ground runs through
the grass and herbage, with occasional holes that enable the Vole to
bolt underground. These runs are made without disturbing the grass
blades, which cross above them and so enable the Vole to run or creep
along them without being seen by the hawk that circles high overhead.
He is not so successful in eluding the Owl, who hunts much nearer to
the ground and with the Weasel keeps a salutary check upon its increase.
Beside a rank tuft of grass along one of these runs the female makes her
nest, roofed with a circular dome of grass blades divided longitudinally
and plaited and felted. It very much resembles the ground-nest
of the Humble-bee, but on a much larger scale. There is nothing to
distinguish it from its surroundings, so that only an eye trained to
find it would see it. It may be detected by the finer character (due to
shredding) of the grass. The parent enters or emerges from any point
under the edge of the dome, and in the case of our uncovering the nest
will at once bolt, leaving her five youngsters at our mercy. This we
have found to be a characteristic callousness on her part. We have
frequently torn off the roof of such nests suddenly, but have only been
able to catch sight of the rapidly moving mother and trace her for a
short distance along a run, so unhesitating and rapid was her flight.
Like all our Rodents with the exception of the Hares, the young are
naked and blind at birth, and there may be five, six, or seven in a
litter. Those shown in the photograph, though their eyes were not open,
had beautiful coats of short fur. There are several litters in a season.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 68._ _H 106._
    *Nest of Field Vole.*
      The dark run at left connects with the nest at right.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 69._ _H 107._
    *Field Vole.*
      Microtus agrestis.]

In those districts where the over-zealous efforts of the gamekeeper have
resulted in the partial extermination of the Weasel and the Owls, the
increase of the Field Vole is so enormous and so rapid that they have at
times become a plague. Crops are cleared from the fields, young trees in
plantations destroyed by thousands, and even newly sown cornfields
rendered unproductive by every seed being eaten. In the New Forest and
the Forest of Dean great loss has been sustained at various times by
their severing the roots of young trees that crossed their runs, and by
their gnawing the bark of the young trunks. The most effective of the
plans adopted for lessening their numbers was by sinking pits a foot
and a half deep, wider at the bottom than at the mouth, into which
vast numbers fell and from which they could not escape. More recently
the South of Scotland suffered from a plague of "mice" that ate up
everything in the fields, inflicting such serious loss to agriculture
that a Government Committee was appointed to inquire into it, and it
was found that the chief culprit was the Field Vole. Fortunately, when
things were at their worst, a vast number of Short-eared Owls appeared
upon the scene and feasted royally until there was scarcely a Vole to
be found. It was found that the enormous increase in the numbers of the
Voles was directly due to the warfare waged by keepers on Weasels and
Owls. Matters are better, perhaps, to-day; but there are still too
many keepers who destroy as vermin the very agents that keep down the
real vermin. We still need a few landowners of the temper of Charles
Waterton, who threatened to strangle his keeper if the latter molested a
certain pair of Owls.

It was also shown at the Vole Committee of 1893, referred to above, that
the Rook destroys great numbers of Field Voles--not only adults that
chance to cross the fields where the Rooks are digging cockchafer grubs,
but that they systematically search for the nests and eat the young.

As in the case of the Wood Mouse, there are several local races of the
Field Vole that have arisen in the islands of the Orkneys and Hebrides,
which have been elevated into distinct species by some recent authors.
Thus, there are recognised the Hebridean Vole, the Orkney Vole, the
Sanday Vole, and the Westray Vole. Mr. Barrett-Hamilton regards the true
_agrestis_ of Linnæus as not occurring in this country, where it is
represented by several sub-species. The Common Field Vole described
above, he says, is a distinct species, the _M. hirtus_ of Bellamy. This,
which he describes as "a newer, smaller form," he says "has replaced an
older, larger _M. agrestis_, the latter now confined chiefly to northern
regions, and with isolated southern colonies on the mountains." Seeing,
however, that most modern authorities agree in retaining the Linnean
name, we have considered it advisable to do so also.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 70._ _H 108._
    *Orkney Vole.*
      Microtus orcadensis.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 71._ _H 109._
    *Bank Vole.*
      Evotomys glareolus.]

The form that Barrett-Hamilton recognises as _M. agrestis_ and calls the
Northern Grass Mouse, is, so far as Britain is concerned, represented
only in Scotland and its western islands by five sub-species which he
names as under:--

Macgillivray's Grass Mouse (_M. agrestis macgillivraii_), a rich buff
coloured form with thin fur, restricted to Islay, where it is rare.

Hebridean Grass Mouse (_M. agrestis exsul_), common on several islands
of the Hebrides. Distinguished from the Field Vole by its much larger
size and duller brown colour.

Eigg Grass Mouse (_M. agrestis mial_) restricted to the island of Eigg.
Differs from _M. a. exsul_ in its shaggy coat of abundant long hairs.

Highland Grass Mouse (_M. agrestis neglectus_) found on the summits
of the highest Scottish mountains. It is larger than the Field Vole,
with thicker fur and darker, browner upper side. It differs from _M. a.
exsul_ in the simpler character of the first molar tooth.

Muck Grass Mouse (_M. agrestis luch_), of which only three specimens
have been taken, all on the island of Muck. About the same size as the
Field Vole, it has a buff underside.


*Orkney Vole* (_Microtus orcadensis_, Millais).

So far back as 1805 the Rev. George Barry, in his "History of the Orkney
Islands," mentions a rodent that was known locally as the Vole Mouse,
which he believed to be the same as the _agrestis_ of Linnæus. He says
it "is very often found in marshy grounds that are covered with moss and
short heath, in which it makes roads or tracks of about three inches in
breadth, and sometimes miles in length, much worn by continual treading,
and warped into a thousand different directions."

Towards the end of last century Mr. J. G. Millais obtained specimens,
and on a critical examination found that they differed from the known
forms in several details of skull structure and in the folds and angles
of the teeth, sufficient in his opinion to constitute a new species,
which he called _Microtus orcadensis_. It is larger than the Field Vole,
with a longer and slightly broader head.

It was found subsequently that specimens from different islands in
the Orkney group showed differences due to their segregation over
a long period, and they have consequently been distinguished as five
sub-species. These differences are minute, and it would be wearisome
and out of place in a popular work such as the present to detail
them. Generally speaking, they are much alike, and their habits are
practically identical, so far as at present known.

The runs are a conspicuous feature of the islands, among the heather
and the rough vegetation of the fields and hillsides, running along the
surface and at intervals entering tunnels about two and a quarter inches
in diameter--just sufficient to clear the spread of the Vole's whiskers.
Their nesting places, like those of the Mole, are under small mounds
connected with a network of runs. The nest itself is made of grass and
roots in a rounded chamber, where at intervals during the spring and
summer several litters, varying from three to six, are produced. Before
they are three weeks old they are capable of independent existence, but
for a time are still guarded by the mother.

The Orkney Vole appears to be specially fond of the roots of Heath
Rush (_Juncus squarrosus_), but also feeds on grass and the crops in
cultivated fields to which they can gain access. Mr. Millais found that
in cold weather his captive Voles became inactive. It has many enemies
to hold its increase in check, for every bird and beast large enough to
capture it will eat it readily.


*Bank Vole* (_Evotomys glareolus_, Schreber).

There can be little doubt that in many places the Bank Vole has been
mistaken for a bright variation of the Field Vole. Its habits are much
the same, except that it haunts the hedgerow and wooded country rather
than the open fields. As to the differences between the two species, the
Bank Vole's head and body measurement is only three and three-quarter
inches against four inches in the Field Vole, but its tail is actually
(not merely proportionately) longer, being nearly half the length of
head and body, and ends in a pencil of hairs. The ears and feet are
proportionately larger, the former also being more oval than round. It
further differs from the other Voles in the fact that the molar teeth
become rooted in the jaws of the adults. The fur of the upper parts is a
bright chestnut-red or Vandyke brown, excepting the hairy tail, which is
black above. The under parts, including the lower side of the tail, are
whitish varying to yellowish or even buff. The redder tint causes this
species frequently to be styled the Red Vole. It has pink lips, and grey
feet. Whiskers about an inch long. Black and albino varieties have been
recorded.

It was considered formerly to be a rare British species, but more
discriminating attention to the smaller mammals in recent years, and
the wider adoption of trapping by naturalists, have tended to modify
that view. It is probably more local, but it appears to be widely
distributed, and to occur as far north certainly as Moray and Elgin;
but it is not recorded from Ireland, Man, Hebrides, or Shetland. A local
race is found in Skomer Island, and has been named _E. skomerensis_.
When Yarrell detected the Bank Vole as a distinct species in 1832,
it was considered to be of very restricted range in this country.
The discovery was made in Essex, but it was soon reported from
Herefordshire, Middlesex, Berks, and Cambridge, and more recently
from Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire, the Lake
District, Northumberland, Inverness, etc. It is restricted to Europe
in its wider range. In this country it does not appear to occur at
elevations of more than about 700 feet.

The Bank Vole is much more agile than the Field Vole, and not so much
given to burrowing. It may be seen abroad in sunny situations at any
time of the day, preferring warm, dry places, yet frequently to be found
in wet places. It is a good swimmer and diver. It constructs shallow
runs in the earth of a roadside bank or hedgebank. These have many
entrances and exits above and below, as shown in our photograph; some
of the passages connecting with the top of the bank, others enlarging
into blind chambers. Its food includes herbage, roots, bulbs, fruits,
and seeds; it appears to be particularly fond of turnips. In spring it
has been observed climbing rose and hawthorn bushes in order to nibble
the new leaves, and in autumn to obtain the hips and haws. It also seeks
nuts, berries, the grain of wheat and barley, and the seeds of smaller
grasses. Insects, snails, and even small birds are eaten by it, and the
entrance to its burrows frequently gives evidence of the variety of its
food. It has been known to eat the unpalatable Shrew that it has killed,
and even to given way to cannibalism. In Scotland it is accused of
eating the shoot-buds of young conifers, especially of larch, and
gnawing the bark from branches.

In this country it is occasionally captured in the act of robbing
household stores, but in more northern regions, as in Norway and the
Yukon, it is a constant inhabitant of houses. It is not one of the
hibernating species, therefore as a rule it does not lay up stores;
but Mr. Douglas English records the digging up of five Bank Voles with
a store of ninety-three sound cob-nuts.

There are several litters of three to six naked and blind young during
the year, produced in nests of grass, moss and wool, or feathers,
usually placed above ground, sometimes in a bird's nest at some height
above it. The males are very quarrelsome, and when fighting or pairing
are very vocal, indulging in grunting squeaks.

      *      *      *      *      *

Three geographical races or sub-species have been recognised by
Barrett-Hamilton as distinct species under distinct names. These are
Skomer Bank Vole (_Evotomys skomerensis_) from Skomer Island, off
Pembroke; Alston's Bank Vole (_E. alstoni_) from the Isle of Mull;
and the Raasay Bank Vole (_E. erica_) from Raasay Island, Skye.
Barrett-Hamilton regards these as descendants of a former "Boreal"
group of Voles, which have been supplanted on the British mainland by
the competition of the Bank Vole.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 72._ _H 112._
    *Retreat of the Bank Vole.*
      Run continues from hole (left) under exposed root (right).]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 73._ _H 113._
    *Rabbit.*
      Oryctolagus cuniculus.]


*Rabbit* (_Oryctolagus cuniculus_, Linn.).

The Rabbits and the Hares being comparatively large and familiar members
of our native fauna do not appear to stand in need of much space being
devoted to them. Familiar as the two common species may be they require
to be distinguished not only one from the other, but also from the
two other and less familiar species, and in addition there may be a
few facts of organisation and habit that are not well-known to all
our readers. All members of the family Leporidæ, there are certain
structural features in which they all agree in a general way. They
belong to the section of Rodents known as Duplicidentata, because in
the upper jaw there are always two pairs of incisors. All the other
Rodents have only one pair, and they form the division Simplicidentata.
The dentition of the Rabbits and Hares is therefore as follows: _i 2/1,
c 0/0, p 3/2, m 3/3 = 28_.

The ears are remarkably long and out of all proportion to the size of
the body when compared with other Mammals. If laid forward over the
face they reach nearly to the tip of the nose. The eyes are large and
prominent and placed well to the sides of the head. The hinder legs are
longer than the forelegs, and so greatly developed as to be the main
propelling power. Instead of pads on the soles to protect the foot and
legs from the jars incidental to hard running, the Leporidæ have all the
feet covered beneath with a thick coating of hair which gives a firm
grip either on hard rock or slippery snow. The tail is very short and
turned up. The fur is of triple formation: there is a dense, soft,
woolly under-fur, through which push longer and stronger hairs and give
the coat its colour, and a still longer but much less numerous set,
scattered among the others. The two longer sorts of hair are more or
less ringed. The coat becomes thicker in winter.

They are sexually mature at a very early age, and often begin to breed
before they have attained to full size. The females are distinguished by
the form of the head, which is longer and more delicately modelled than
that of the male. The males (bucks), too, are restless and quarrelsome.
They are promiscuous breeders, and the entire care of the family falls
upon the mother (doe).

Litters of Rabbits succeed one another rapidly between February and
September; less frequently in the autumn and winter months. The litters
vary from two or three to eight, the higher numbers being those of the
warmer months. Young Rabbits are but sparsely clothed and are blind and
deaf, the ears being closed and having no power of movement until about
the tenth day. The eyes open a day later. In a few days more they can
run, and make short excursions from the underground nest. Before they
are a month old they are capable of independent existence. Until then
the mother will defend them against all-comers, including the Weasel and
Stoat, using her powerful hind feet against her adversary, and to good
purpose.

The Rabbit is a much smaller animal than the Hare, greyer in colour,
with smaller ears and feet, and the black tips of the ears so noticeable
in the Hare, are in the Rabbit much reduced or altogether wanting. Its
average weight and measurements are: weight, 2-1/2 to 3 lbs.; length
of head and body, 16-1/2 ins., tail, 3-3/4 ins., ear, 3 ins., hind foot
with claws, 3-3/4 ins. It also differs from the Hare in the structure
of its heavier skull, its smaller eyes, shorter ears, and lesser
specialisation of the limbs for speed in running.

It is believed that originally the Rabbit was a native only of the
western parts of the Mediterranean region--where it still teems--and to
have spread northwards largely by human aid. It is known to have been
introduced to Italy from Spain by the Romans, who are usually credited
with having brought it to Britain. It is now thought, however, that we
are indebted to the Normans for its presence. It was certainly here in
the twelfth century. The name Rabbit is from the French, and originally
indicated the suckling young; the adults being known as Conies.

Although so famous as a digger of extensive underground dwellings,
Nature does not appear to have specially built the Rabbit for this
purpose; but where the soil is light the efforts of many generations of
associated workers have resulted in a system of burrows both extensive
and complicated, with bolt-runs as emergency exits and stop-runs for
nursery use. Although it prefers the light sand of the dunes covered
with Marram-grass, or a sandy heath overgrown with furze and heather,
it will on occasion drive its tunnels into firm loam or dry clay; it
has been known even to burrow deeply into a surface seam of coal. The
forepaws are the principal burrowing tools, the loosened earth being
thrown far back by the kicking of the hinder feet. Where stones come in
the way that cannot be loosened by the paws, they have been known to be
removed by the teeth. These tunnels are about six inches in diameter,
increased locally to a foot to provide passing places. The residental
quarters are always blind chambers leading from the main passages. The
adult Rabbits do not indulge in bedding materials but rest on the bare
soil. The does, however, make beds for their young by denuding their
own under parts of fur. These tunnels are frequently made use of by
other animals, if necessary, by enlarging the passage to admit their
larger bodies. When Rabbit-earths are ferreted they sometimes yield
more than Rabbits: a Fox, a Cat, a Stoat, with several Rabbits and
Rats, have been driven out of the same earth.

Where the Rabbit finds the ground too hard or too wet, it contrives
to do without tunnelling underground, making runs under the heather,
furze, or matted herbage. Such exceptions are known to sportsmen as
Stub-Rabbits or Bush-Rabbits, in the belief that they are a separate
species. Occasionally, too, the doe will follow the example of the Hare,
and make a nursery "form" in fallow land or among the growing turnips.

The Rabbit is almost exclusively a vegetarian, its chief food being
grass and the tender shoots of furze; but in the vicinity of cultivated
land they devastate the crops and inflict serious loss upon the farmer.
The exception to a vegetable diet is found in its occasional indulgence
in snails. Wherever there is sufficient food and his enemies are not too
oppressive the Rabbit has extended his range to the most out-of-the-way
corners of these islands. A century ago it was a scarce beast in
Scotland, but it is now to be found in abundance up to the extreme
north. It is found also all over Ireland. Its chief enemies, in addition
to man, are all the members of the Weasel family, the Owls, and the
Hawks.

Every one who has come across a party of Rabbits feeding must have
noticed how conspicuous the white underside of the upturned tail makes
them in flight. Wallace suggested that like the white patch on the hind
parts of deer and antelope it served as "a signal flag of danger," a
guide to the young and feeble to escape from danger by following the
most vigorous seniors. This view has been strongly criticised, even
ridiculed; but the critics have not offered a better explanation of
the upturned Rabbit's "scut." It must, however, be admitted that any
explanation ought to fit the case of the Hare which often carries its
tail with the white underside exposed, but is a solitary animal with no
companions to follow it. On the sand dunes the Rabbit's coat renders it
invisible through harmony with the sand.

In the ordinary way of life the Rabbit is a silent animal, except that
he gives vent to low growls and grunts to express anger or pleasure;
but when terrorised by the imminence of attack by a Stoat the Rabbit
finds its voice and gives utterance to a loud scream of agony. This has
been referred to in the account of the Stoat (_ante_, p. 68).

  [Illustration: _Pl. 74._ _I 116._
    *Entrance to Rabbit-Burrow.*
      Bare slope in front formed of excavated earth.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 75._ _I 117._
    *Brown Hare.*
      Lepus europæus.]


*Brown Hare* (_Lepus europæus_, Pallas).

Although in general form and structure the Hare is similar to the
closely related Rabbit, there are differences so great as to have
induced recent systematists to put them into different genera; and,
even superficially, they are sufficiently unlike to enable country folk
to keep them distinct under different names. These differences are
evident in the longer body, the great length of the hind limbs, the
longer ears with their invariable black tips, and the tawny colour of
the fur of the upper parts. To these distinctions they can add the
patent facts that whilst the Rabbit is a sociable beast, associating
in large communities, the Hare is as solitary and retired as a hermit.

There has never been any suggestion that the Hare's title to rank as a
real native of Britain is open to doubt, for its name is Anglo-Saxon,
and identical with that in use in Denmark and Sweden. It is widely
distributed in England, Wales and Scotland up to about 2000 feet
elevation; but in Ireland (which has a separate species of its own)
the Brown Hare is not a native. It has been a favourite animal of the
chase from the earliest times of which we have records; and our ancient
sportsmen had age-names for it as for Deer. Thus, in its first year it
was a Leveret, in the second year a Hare, and in the third a Great Hare.
The male is distinguished as Jack-Hare, and the female as Doe.

The total length of the Hare is about twenty-four inches, to which the
tail contributes three inches and two-thirds, and the head nearly four
inches. The ears fall short of five inches. The weight averages about
eight pounds. The tawny fur of the upper side is harsher than that
of the Rabbit, which is due to a predominance of the strong hairs of
medium length described under Rabbit. The shoulders, neck, and flanks
are of a ruddier hue than the back, and a ruddy band crosses the loins.
The sides of the face, and the outer surfaces of the limbs, incline to a
yellow tint. The underside is pure white except at the breast and loins
where the ruddy tint is continued from above. There is a profusion of
black and white whiskers, of which the white are the longer and as much
as three and a half inches in length. The tail, which is carried curved
up over the back or straight behind, is black above and white on the
sides and below. The large, prominent eyes have a horizontal pupil. As
it is almost impossible to come upon a Hare asleep, it was formerly
believed that they have no eyelids and are compelled, therefore, to
sleep with their eyes open. This, of course, was an "inexactitude"
comparable to the belief in the Mole's lack of eyes and ears. The
prominence of the dark eyes of the Hare, and their situation well to the
sides of the head give him a wide field of vision. As regards sexual
distinctions, the Jack-Hare has a smaller body, shorter head and redder
shoulders than the Doe.

  [Illustration: *Skeleton and Teeth of Brown Hare.*]

The Hare is not a burrowing animal, and does not seek refuge
underground from his enemies, unless hard pressed, when he may enter a
Rabbit-burrow temporarily. He relies upon his russet coat harmonising
generally with his surroundings; and content with a slight depression
among the grass known as a "form," he sits all day and surveys the
landscape, ever ready to use his powerful limbs when his keen senses
tell him there is danger near. At dusk he goes abroad to feed, and
returns to the form at dawn. To break the continuity of scent, when he
is leaving his form, and again when returning to it, he will suddenly
turn at right angles to his former course and make a prodigious
leap--fifteen feet or more--to the top of a bank, then take another
long bound, perhaps into marshy ground where the scent will not lie,
and repairing to the feeding-ground feel safe from being tracked by
Fox or Polecat. He always adopts this leaping trick, also the plan of
doubling on his track, which has been the admiration and vexation of
the hunter from old times. Shakespeare has told at some length

    "How he outruns the winds, and with what care
     He cranks and crosses with a thousand doubles:
       The many musets through the which he goes
       Are like a labyrinth to amaze his foes."

As he courses across the fields you get the impression that he is longer
than the measurement given above; the impression is due to the length
of the hind legs extended in running, and from which he especially
gets the advantage over pursuers when the course lies uphill. He is
a good swimmer, and often crosses rivers in order to reach a better
feeding-ground, to avoid pursuit, or to seek a mate. Hares have been
known to cross the Trent in numbers, where it was two hundred yards
wide, in order to reach a field of carrots on the further side; and
Yarrel saw one cross an arm of the sea a mile broad.

The "form" is made in rank grass among thickets of gorse and briar, or
in the open field where the ground is dry beneath it. It takes and
retains the shape of the animal's body, and may be used for a long
period. Here the doe brings forth her litter of two, three, or four
young--occasionally more. There is much variation in this respect. These
are born with their eyes open, and a short furry coat, which however
lacks the ruddiness of the adult. They are capable of using their limbs,
and are so well advanced in development before birth, that soon each
makes its own little form beside the mother's, and when a month old they
are quite independent. When left alone on the form, whilst the mother
goes off to feed, and anything alarms them, they cry "leek, leek." The
adults pair promiscuously; and there appear to be three or four litters
a year.

The Hare appears to moult twice a year--in early autumn and early
spring; the former being the principal. Like the Rabbit, it is
exclusively vegetarian in its feeding, including bark, grain, and roots
as well as herbaceous plants in its bill of fare. It is very destructive
to young trees in plantations, and the farmer and market-gardener suffer
severely from its depredations among the crops of carrot, lettuce,
turnip, etc. In the open country it prefers grasses of the genera _Poa_,
_Festuca_, and _Molinia_, clover, sow-thistle, and chicory. When it
gets into gardens it shows distinct preference for dahlias, carnations,
pinks, nasturtiums, parsley, and thyme. In shrubberies it is very
destructive to bark and boughs, especially of coniferous trees.

The proverbial expression, "Mad as a March Hare," has reference to the
insane antics of the Jack-Hare during the rutting season. He grunts and
kicks, bucks like a broncho, and has stand-up boxing-matches with his
rivals. In bucking he leaps over his opponent and kicks him vigorously
with the hind feet. Though usually harmless, these encounters have been
known to have fatal terminations. Though regarded generally as a mute
animal, this is not the fact. The Hare has a low but clear cry, which
has been described as "don't," "[=o]nt" or "aunt," with varying
inflections denoting different moods. When wounded or badly frightened
it utters a scream like that of a child in pain, and sportsmen have
declared that the pitifulness of it caused them to give up shooting
Hares. They have also a warning sound made by grinding the teeth, and it
is passed on from Hare to Hare, having the same result as the stamping
of feet by the Rabbit. The amorous notes of buck and doe are different,
and their imitation by poachers and gamekeepers is known as
Hare-sucking.

The doe is a model mother for a time, and will fight desperately in
defence of her young; but as soon as they are capable of looking after
themselves she casts them off or deserts them.


*Alpine Hare* (_Lepus timidus_, Linn.).

Alternatively known as the Scottish or Variable Hare, the present
species is intermediate in size between the Brown Hare and the Rabbit.
The first name has reference to the fact that it is indigenous only in
Scotland and the neighbouring isles. It has been introduced into England
and Wales, but except in the northern counties and some of the Welsh
mountains has not established itself. The name Variable Hare denotes its
change of hue at the beginning of winter after the manner of the Stoat.
In Cheshire it is known as White Hare. Respecting this winter whitening
of the fur, fierce controversies raged for many years; one school
contending that it was due to a complete moulting of the summer fur,
as a new growth without colour was produced. The opposition claimed
that there was only one moult--in spring--to get rid of the too
conspicuous white coat as the snow with which it harmonised melted
away. They contended that the old hairs became altered individually
by the abstraction of pigment, or by the development of air-bubbles.
Evidence which was considered conclusive was brought forward by both
sides, and opponents remained unconvinced. In the early days of the
twentieth century, however, Metchnikoff showed that the senile whitening
of human hair was due to the activity of certain motile cells, which he
termed chromophages or colour-eaters, which remove the pigment granules
and consume them. At a later date he showed that the same process caused
the whitening of the hairs in the Scottish Hare, and of the feathers of
the Ptarmigan--which undergoes a similar change of colour. It is
noteworthy that the black tips of the ears, like the black tip of the
tail in the Stoat, never change colour.

As already stated, the Alpine Hare is smaller than the Brown Hare, the
combined length of head and body being about twenty inches, but the
head is proportionately larger, the ears and tail shorter, and the
legs longer. The fur is more woolly and of a duskier tint in summer,
the whiskers shorter and finer, the eyes rounder, and the hair on the
underside of the foot softer. Behind the breast the under parts are
white, and the tail wholly so. Another name--Blue Hare--is suggested by
its appearance in autumn and spring, when the summer and winter tints
are mingled in its fur. The coat becomes closer and longer in winter
than it is in summer. Sometimes the winter coat is retained longer than
usual, through some unexplained retarding of the spring moult. Black and
buff variations have been recorded. The average weight is between five
and six pounds.

The habits of the Alpine Hare are very similar to those of the Brown
Hare; but it is less timid, and when alarmed clears off in a more
leisurely and less excited manner. As contrasted with the nervous
terror of the Brown Hare and Rabbit, the Alpine Hare may be said to be
comparatively tame. Instead of making a form it hides in rock crevices
and among stones where it may be sheltered from the sight of birds of
prey overhead. Occasionally, and especially where there are no rocks,
they excavate burrows a few feet in length in the hillside or into the
peat-bank. In general its food is similar to that of the Brown Hare; but
it is said to add lichens to its bill of fare in winter, and to grind
up fir-cones in order to obtain the seeds.

Precise observation is still needed respecting the breeding habits of
the Alpine Hare, but they do not appear to differ greatly from those of
the Brown Hare, two or three litters being produced in the year, and the
leverets varying in number up to eight.


*Irish Hare* (_Lepus hibernicus_, Bell).

The abundance of Hares in Ireland has been noticed in literature for
more than a thousand years, but it was not until 1833 that it was
suggested that the Irish Hare was anything more than a variation of the
Brown Hare. Even so, until quite recently it has been accepted by most
of the high authorities as, at best, a variety or sub-species of the
Alpine Hare. It occurs naturally all over Ireland, and is not found
elsewhere except where distinct attempts have been made to introduce it.
Even in places where this introduction has succeeded in establishing
colonies--as in the Island of Mull, where it runs with the Alpine
Hare--it refuses to breed with other kinds. Barrett-Hamilton is
satisfied that it is distinct, and probably a direct descendant of the
extinct _Lepus anglicus_ whose remains are found in late Pleistocene
rocks.

It is a larger beast than the Alpine Hare. The head and body average
about twenty-three inches in length, and the tail about three inches.
The ears slightly exceed the tail. The average weight is about seven
pounds; but exceptionally exceeds nine, and in one case ten pounds has
been recorded. It has russet fur, not smoky brown or "blue" as in the
Alpine Hare; its winter whitening is not regular as in that species, and
is frequently patchy, russet "islands" being left surrounded by white.

As compared with the Brown Hare, the Irish Hare is smaller and of more
graceful build, but the head is relatively longer and broader, the eyes
rounder, the ears shorter and the limbs longer.

Though it does not dig burrows of its own, it has been known frequently
when coursed to take refuge in a Rabbit-burrow. Though, like the other
Hares, solitary, the Irish Hare shows a tendency to gregariousness at
times. They have been seen in the North of Ireland moving in droves of
two or three hundred, like Deer.

It has several litters during the year, averaging three leverets a
litter. They seldom remain long together, either moving apart of their
own accord or being separated by the old doe. They are able to run when
only an hour or two old.


HOOFED ANIMALS: RED DEER, FALLOW DEER, AND ROE DEER

*Red Deer* (_Cervus elaphus_, Linn.).

The largest and noblest surviving member of the ancient British fauna,
the Red Deer to-day has a very limited range--the mountain glens of
Scotland and Westmorland, in the north, and the wide Devon and Somerset
moors and the New Forest in Hampshire. Even in the New Forest, where
only a few score remain, it is extinct officially, for an Act of
Parliament passed in the year 1851 decreed the extermination of the
Deer, the reason being that they destroyed a vast quantity of what was
then become of far greater national value than venison--the growing
timber--and demoralised the inhabitants by creating a race of
deer-stealers.

A full-grown Stag, as the male Red Deer is called, stands about four
feet in height at the shoulders; the Hind, or female, somewhat less. The
summer coat is reddish-brown, sometimes golden-red, which changes to a
brownish-grey in winter by the new growth of grey hairs. On the under
parts the colour is white, and a patch of white around the short tail
furnishes a "recognition mark," common to most of the Deer family, which
serves to guide the herd when they are in flight before an enemy. A
hind bears her first calf when she is about three years old.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 76._ _I 124._
    *Red Deer Stag.*
      Cervus elaphus.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 77._ _I 125._
    *Young of Brown Hare.*
      Left in "form" whilst mother feeds.]

All the species of Deer belong to what naturalists know as the even-toed
ungulates (animals with divided hoofs). As distinguished from the Horse,
for example, which walks on a single hoof in the middle line of the
foot, the Deer are supported on two smaller symmetrical hoofs and the
axis of the foot passes between them. If you come across the footprints
of the Red Deer--"slot" the hunter calls them--in soft ground you
will find that fact well-marked. Let me say parenthetically that when
observing wild animals, footprints or "spoor" should be eagerly watched
for. In the deeper slot of the Deer there may also be slight impressions
of two other toes, one on each side behind and above the hoofs.

If you should come across a no longer needed skull of the Deer, take the
opportunity for examining its dental arrangements. You are, of course,
more likely to meet with it in a museum than in your rambles. You will
find the teeth and their disposition do not differ materially from what
are found in the jaws of the ox and the sheep; for like those the Deer
is a ruminant, living on vegetable food and having a four-chambered
stomach. There are no teeth in the forepart of the upper jaw, the three
premolars and three molars of each side being placed well back in the
cheek. On each side of the lower jaw we find right in front three
incisors or cutting teeth, which bite against hardened gum in the upper
jaw. The Stag alone has a single canine tooth a little behind these, but
the Hind is denied this possession. Three premolars and three molars
correspond with, and bite against, those of the upper jaw. Dental
formula: _i 0/3, c 0/1, p 3/3, m 3/3 = 32_.

The food of the Deer is herbage and the young shoots of trees and
shrubs. It is this fact that led to their nominal extermination
in the New Forest and other places. By nature they are woodland
animals--although their greater prevalence to-day in the Highlands
might give us a different impression--and in the winter especially do
great damage to the plantations of young trees. Agricultural lands in
their vicinity also suffer greatly, a whole field of turnips being
ruined in a night by a visit from a herd of Deer. They also destroy
wheat, potatoes, and cabbages; and in the woods consume many toadstools,
acorns, and chestnuts.

In spring and summer whilst his horns are growing the Stag lives apart
from his kind, but in the early autumn when these are well-developed and
hard, we may in suitable localities hear his "belling" call to the
Hinds, or in defiance to some rival.

    "The wild buck bells from ferny brake,"

as Sir Walter Scott puts it. There is a good deal of furious fighting
when two jealous Stags of similar age and strength meet in the vicinity
of the hinds. He is then in the prime of condition, his neck and
shoulders clad in a thick mantle of long brown hair, and his head
adorned with the noble pair of antlers that reveals his age. Those that
decorated and armed him last autumn and winter were shed bodily about
March, and a new growth started soon after from the burred frontal knobs
that were left. It is important to notice the difference between these
solid though temporary growths and the mere shells that permanently
decorate the heads of oxen, sheep, and goats. In the Deer they are what
biologists term secondary sexual characters; they are possessed by the
males only, and cast in their entirety at the end of each breeding
season with its frequent contests between the Stags. The history of
these antlers is strangely like that of a tall perennial herb whose
stems and branches die down to the rootstock each winter--that is, after
the plant's breeding season--and start into more vigorous growth each
spring. The "rootstock" of the Stag's horns makes its appearance at
an early age, and its annual growth is more numerously branched each
succeeding year. The growth of the Stag's horns is said to keep pace
with the growth of the bracken among which he rests.

When the male Deer-calf is a few months old he becomes distinct from the
female by the appearance of two knobs ("bossets") on the front of the
head; he is then a _knobber_. Next year these become longer and pointed
("dags") and he becomes known as a _brocket_. The third year a branch
appears forward--the brow antler--and he becomes a _spayad_. The fourth
year a second forward antler--the bez tine or bay--is produced at about
a third from the summit of the now long horn; and he is known as a
_staggard_. The tray (_très_) or royal antler appears near the summit in
the fifth year, and this entitles the young Deer to the title of _Stag_:
he has come of age. From the sixth year, when the crown of antlers
begins to form at the summit by the production of tines in several
directions at the same height, he becomes a _Hart_ or _Stag of Ten_;
and in former days he could advance beyond that dignity by escaping with
his life after being hunted by the King, thereby earning the rank of a
_Stag Royal_. If he lives long enough he may wear a pair of antlers each
having as many as forty-eight points. He is considered, by the way, to
live for forty years.

The antler has a core of solid bone covered by a continuation of the
soft skin of the head, which bears a close pile of short hair and is
known as the velvet. When the core has attained to its proper solidity
and hardness, the growth of the rough burr at its base, pressing on
the blood vessels and stopping their further supply to the velvet
above, causes the death of the latter; and the Deer by rubbing the new
structure against tree trunks and branches, tears off the velvet in
strips, and is then able to do battle with his peers. The ensuing period
of sexual unrest having been passed through safely, the whole structure
down to the burrs is parted with, and a finer set of antlers begun. The
whole process of antler growth occupies about ten weeks, and during this
period the Stag is always in poor condition, and seeks solitude. What
becomes of the dropped antlers is somewhat of a mystery, as few of them
are found, and these usually odd ones.

If one were seeking to judge the habits of the Red Deer from a finely
stuffed specimen in, say, the Natural History Museum, standing erect
with fully developed antlers, one would feel justified in saying, as
many have said--"This is a creature of the open mountain-side and the
moorland, where there are no trees whose branches could entangle these
branching horns. No adornment could be better fitted for keeping the
noble beast out of the woods." Yet the Deer can actually run through
dense woods with ease, and we know from its habitats in other countries
where it is still plentiful, that it is a true woodland animal. The
explanation is evident if, during a Stag hunt, we see the hunted seek
refuge in a wood. The Stag throws his head back so that his antlers lie
along each side and protect his body from many a bruise that might
otherwise be inflicted by the branches as he rushes through the
undergrowth. The antlers may be used with deadly effect in self-defence,
and many a hound is killed by a Stag at bay. Their function appears to
be mainly protective against carnivorous beasts; they are seldom if
ever effective against those of their own kind.

The mating of the Red Deer, as we have indicated, takes place in the
autumn; and in the spring the Hinds separate, each retiring to a lonely
spot among the bracken where her single calf (rarely two) is born about
the end of May. The little deer is already covered with fur, and its
back and sides are dappled with white after the manner of the Fallow
Deer, though unlike the livery of that species the spotting of the
Red Deer is not retained beyond calfhood. The calf is born with some
intelligence also. Mr. St. John tells how, one day in the Highlands, he
"was watching a Red Deer hind with my glass, whose proceedings I did not
understand, till I saw that she was licking a new-born calf. I walked up
to the place, and as soon as the old deer saw me she gave her young
one a slight tap with her hoof. The little creature immediately laid
itself down; and when I came up I found it lying with its head flat on
the ground, its ears closely laid back, and with all the attempts at
concealment that one sees in animals which have passed an apprenticeship
to danger of some years, whereas it had evidently not known the world
for more than an hour, being unable to run or escape. I lifted up the
little creature, being half inclined to carry it home in order to rear
it. The mother stood at the distance of two hundred yards, stamping with
her foot, exactly as a sheep would have done in a similar situation. I,
however, remembering the distance I had to carry it, and fearing that it
might get hurt on the way, laid it down again, and went on my way, to
the great delight of its mother, who almost immediately trotted up, and
examined her progeny all over, appearing, like most other wild animals,
to be confident that her young and helpless offspring would be a
safeguard to herself against the attacks of her otherwise worst enemy."

  [Illustration: _Pl. 78._ _I 128._
    *Fallow Deer Buck.*
      Cervus dama.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 79._
    *Alpine Hare.*
      Lepus timidus.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 80._
    *Red Deer Hind.*
      Female Deer have no indication of antlers.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 81._ _K 129._
    *Roe Buck.*
      Capreolus capraea.]

It is in the localities described by the author just quoted that we have
still the best chance of studying the Red Deer under natural conditions,
though there have naturally been some changes since his classic
"Wild Sports of the Highlands" was first published in 1845. But the
southerner, as we have hinted, has still a prospect of meeting with the
noble beast on Exmoor and in Hampshire, to say nothing of the tamer
herds in parks. To get a good view of these, they should be approached
with a pretence of unconcern: they can often be well observed from a
road at a few yards' distance without arousing their suspicions, whereas
a few steps towards them on the greensward will cause them to bolt.

Respecting the large numbers of Deer that formerly existed in the south,
there is an illuminating reminiscence mentioned by Gilbert White. He
says that an old keeper assured him on information from his father,
head-keeper of Wolmer Forest, "that Queen Anne, as she was journeying
on the Portsmouth road, did not think the forest of Wolmer beneath her
royal regard. For she came out of the great road at Lippock, which is
just by, and, reposing herself on a bank smoothed for that purpose,
lying about half a mile to the east of Wolmer Pond and still called
Queen's Bank, saw with great complacency and satisfaction the whole herd
of Red Deer brought by the keepers along the vale before her, consisting
then of about five hundred head. A sight this worthy the attention of
the greatest sovereign!" Even more striking is the confession of a
notorious deer-stealer in the New Forest, who assured the Rev. William
Gilpin, author of "Forest Scenery," that in five years he had killed on
an average "not fewer than a hundred bucks a year."

It should be stated that the British examples of the Red Deer are
considered to constitute a geographical race known as _scoticus_. The
European range of the species extends from the Mediterranean to central
Sweden and central Norway.


*Fallow Deer* (_Cervus dama_, Linn.).

The Fallow Deer is recognisable at a glance as distinct from the Red
Deer by the entirely different character of the antlers. Those of the
Fallow Deer are flattened and expanded in all the branches of the upper
part, though the main stem or "beam" is rounded as in the Red Deer. With
the exception of the equivalents of the brow antler and the bez tine the
antler forms a broad curved plate whose margins run out in a number of
flat points. It is known as a palmate antler, comparable to the palm of
the hand with its finger prolongations. These horns are shed annually,
like those of the Red Deer, but slightly later. There are no canine
teeth in either sex.

The Fallow Deer is smaller than the Red Deer, the Buck standing only
a little more than three feet at the shoulders, and the Hind somewhat
less. It differs in colour, too, from the Red Deer, being a paler red
or reddish-yellow above spotted with white, and yellowish-white on the
under parts. The tail is longer than that of the Red Deer, and is kept
in constant motion from side to side. The vertical white stripe on
either side of the rump shows up strongly when the animal is in retreat.
In winter the fur darkens; and some of the tame herds in parks show this
dark coloration at all seasons. This has been explained by the statement
that they are descended from a darker, hardier race introduced from
Norway by James I.; but Harting says this variety was in Windsor Park
as far back as the year 1465. It is this dark form that is met with in
Epping Forest. It may also be seen in Richmond Park, where, however, the
lighter form is in the majority.

In this connection it should be mentioned that it is believed the Fallow
Deer was introduced to Britain by the Romans, though fossil remains
found here show that it was a true native originally. One is inclined to
be somewhat suspicious of these introductions attributed to the Romans.
It is quite possible that in their desire to enjoy all their continental
luxuries they may have brought with them much that was indigenous to the
soil. It is possible, too, that they were more proficient as conquerors
than as observers of Nature. Cæsar, for example, has left it on record
that, when he hewed his way through the dense forests between the south
coast and London, there were no beech trees growing, whereas every
botanist who has devoted attention to the origin and distribution of
our flora is convinced that the invasion of southern England by the
beechwoods of the Continent took place ages before great Cæsar was born,
and before the separating English Channel was more than a river valley.
Men who could overlook so majestic and plentiful a tree as the beech on
our chalklands, were capable of not seeing the shy Fallow Deer, which
has a wonderful power of vanishing silently among the bracken. However,
modern authorities are of opinion that the Fallow Deer is native only
in the Mediterranean region of Europe and Asia Minor; elsewhere it has
been introduced by man.

In addition to the marked difference in the form of the horns in these
two species of Deer, there is also a distinction in the development of
these ornaments. During its first year the Fallow fawn gives no sign of
such a growth, but in its second it produces a pair of short unbranched
prongs, which gives the fawn its name of _pricket_. The next year there
is a great advance, for each simple prong is succeeded by a horn that
bears two forward tines, and the extremity of the beam is slightly
expanded and flattened, and its margin indented. In the fourth year the
form is similar but more developed, the flat portion of the beam being
much larger and its outer margin more regularly toothed or snagged. The
fifth year shows further advance along the same lines, and the animal
becomes known as a _buck of the first head_. In later years the
additions are merely an increase in the number of spillers or snags
to the flattened beam.

During the breeding season and throughout the winter Fallow Deer may be
encountered in mixed herds of both sexes; at other times in parties of
Bucks _or_ Does. Like the Red Deer it is a great enemy to the forester,
and in winter time is not content with browsing on the young shoots of
the trees, but utterly kills many by destroying their bark. They also
eat acorns, chestnuts and horse-chestnuts. By reason of their feeding
more in the lowland woods, where the diet is more liberal, the venison
of the Fallow Deer is considered more tender and of finer flavour.

The Fallow fawns are born in May or June in a close retreat far in
among the bracken. Though mostly there is only one at a birth, there
are frequently two, and rarely three. The fawn is capable of taking
care of itself when only a few hours old. As illustrating this point,
we may quote an incident narrated by Mr. John Watson, who has written
intimately of the wild life of Westmorland. He says: "Once we came
suddenly upon a pretty little soft-eyed creature, evidently only a few
hours old. It squatted closely as we stood over it, but when aware that
it was observed, feigned death in the most amusing manner, only with the
softest and most wide-open eyes imaginable. As we stooped towards it,
with half a dozen bounds it cleared the brake, and as a rapid stream
stopped its further progress, jumped in, and, after swimming about
twenty yards, came quickly ashore. It then trotted back to its bed
among the fern; and yet it is probable that this fawn had not previously
used its legs, and had certainly never seen water."

  [Illustration: _Pl. 82._ _K 132._
    *Fallow Deer Hind.*
      The hind is smaller than the Buck, and of more slender build.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 83._ _K 133._
    *Roe Deer Fawn.*
      Watching for its mother from its birthplace.]

The name Fallow is the Anglo-Saxon _fealewe_, and indicates the gilvous
colour of the lighter race. Gray in 1843 separated the species from the
Linnean genus _Cervus_ under its species name of _Dama_. The modern
effort to get back to original species names under the rules of priority
has caused this Deer to be dubbed _Dama dama_ in the newest catalogues.
We have preferred to retain the Linnean _Cervus dama_, but our readers
can say _Dama dama_ if they like it better.


*Roe Deer* (_Capreolus capraea_, Gray).

A third species of Deer, the Roe, is now to be found only in our
northern mountain woods. It is the smallest and prettiest of our native
species, and appears to have been formerly the most widely distributed
of the three (though never an Irish species), but to have been driven
further and further north by the advance of population and cultivation
in the south. Even so, quiet ramblers in the thicker woods and
plantations of the New Forest have a slender prospect of seeing it.
About the beginning of the nineteenth century, Lord Portarlington
introduced Roe to the woods of Milton Abbas, in Dorset, where they
prospered and increased. In the year 1876, or thereabouts, it is said
that some of these made their way across country for twenty-five miles
and settled in the New Forest. There are very few of them, and this fact
combined with their cleverly elusive movements in the dense coverts they
affect, makes the chance of seeing them very remote, more particularly
as the Roe is nocturnal in its habits.

The Roe stands only about two and a quarter feet at the shoulders. Its
colour in summer is bright red-brown, the coat short and smooth; but
in winter it becomes long and brittle, and the colour changes to a
warm grey. The tail is so short as to be scarcely visible among the
surrounding hairs which, as well as the under parts and the inner sides
of the thighs, are white. The ears are relatively larger than those of
the other species, covered with long hairs and whitish inside. It has a
white chin and a white spot on each side of the dark muzzle. A mature
buck weighs from forty to fifty pounds. There are no signs of horns
in first year fawns; in the second year they make their appearance as
simple unbranched prongs. The third year the horns are forked, a short
tine pointing forwards; those of the fourth year have an additional
tine directed backwards, and this marks the full complication of their
structure. In later years they have the same general design, but, of
course, are each year larger; at their maximum they are only eight or
nine inches long, and are nearly upright. Small and primitive though
these horns are, they are very effective weapons, and there have been
occasions when they were used with fatal effect against human victims.
They have no canine teeth.

Roe Deer never congregate in large herds, but form small family
groups. In spring the hind retires deep into the covert, where her two
(sometimes three) spotted fawns are born; and when they are about a
fortnight old, she brings them out into the more open parts. Charles
St. John, who, in the first half of the nineteenth century, had full
opportunity for a close study of the natural history of the Highlands,
has much to say of Roe Deer and their habits. He remarks that, "The
greatest drawback to preserving Roe to any great extent is, that
they are so shy and nocturnal in their habits that they seldom show
themselves in the daytime. I sometimes see a Roe passing like a shadow
through the trees, or standing gazing at me from a distance in some
sequestered glade; but, generally speaking, they are no ornament about
a place, their presence being only known by the mischief they do to
the young plantations and to the crops. A keeper in Kincardineshire
this year told me that he had often, early in the morning, counted
above twenty Roe in a single turnip-field. As for the sport afforded by
shooting them, I never killed one without regretting it, and wishing
that I could bring the poor animal to life again. I do not think that
Roe are sufficiently appreciated as venison, yet they are excellent
eating when killed in proper season, between October and February, and
of proper age. In summer the meat is not worth cooking, being dry and
sometimes rank."

  [Illustration: _Pl. 84._ _K 134._
    *Common Lizard.*
      Not necessarily a family party.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 85._ _K 135._
    *Common Lizard female.*
      Lacerta vivipara.]

The Roe is a good swimmer, and often crosses rivers, probably in order
to get a change of food, though sometimes there is no reason apparent.
On this point St. John tells us: "For some unknown reason, as they do it
without apparent cause, such as being hard-hunted or driven by want of
food, the Roe sometimes take it into their heads to swim across wide
pieces of water, and even arms of the sea. I have known Roe caught by
boatmen in the Cromarty Firth, swimming strongly across the entrance of
the bay, and making good way against the current of the tide, which runs
there with great rapidity. Higher up the same firth, too, Roe have been
caught when in the act of crossing. When driven by hounds I have seen
one cross Loch Ness."

The dentition is the same as that of the Fallow Deer.


LIZARDS AND SLOW-WORM

*Common Lizard* (_Lacerta vivipara_, Wagl.).

There are still two small groups of backboned animals to be described,
representing the classes Reptilia and Batrachia. To the average man
they are all Reptiles, and he has this justification for so regarding
them--that until recently they were so classified by the great
naturalists. Modern biologists, however, dealing with structure and
organisation rather than with external form, find that this association
of the scale-clad Lizards and Serpents with the soft-skinned Frogs,
Toads, and Newts cannot be defended, and they have separated them into
the two classes named. The reasons for this separation will become
manifest in our descriptions of the several species, so that a
preliminary dissertation on the subject is not necessary.

Sitting on a sunny, heather-clad hillside it will not be long, probably,
before we see the active little Common Lizard peeping at us from under
cover or leaping swiftly over the crowded plants. Its movements are
so rapid that it is not at all easy to follow them in detail, or even
to catch one for closer examination. It can run nimbly enough with a
gliding motion, for the body and tail are scarcely lifted from the
ground; but the principal mode of progression is to shoot forward
horizontally from one tuft of herbage to the next. They run with as much
facility over the shoots of heather or heath, and their long, delicate
fingers and toes secure them as sure a landing as that of the Squirrel
leaping from branch to branch. When we have hit upon a spot where we
have seen several Lizards thus active, a good plan is to sit down
quietly for a time, and keep our eyes on a patch of sand that is fully
exposed to sunshine. In a little while a Lizard, maybe two or three
Lizards, will appear from under the heather or other plants and bask in
the sun.

So seen, we note that they are about five inches in length, which is
only an average size. The maximum attained by males is six inches, and
by females seven inches. The females are not merely longer, they are
altogether of larger proportions; but the male is the more graceful of
the two, his tail tapering gradually from the slender body to the very
fine tip. Though the tail is in both sexes equal in length to the head
and body, that of the female appears shorter owing to its sudden
tapering beyond the thick basal portion.

The colour is some tint of brown, varying considerably in different
individuals from yellow-grey to purple-brown, as a ground tint,
upon which is laid variable dark spots forming more or less broken
longitudinal lines. There is sometimes a blackish line or band following
the course of the backbone to a little behind the hips, and a dark band
along the sides edged with yellow. On the underside the males are
orange or red, spotted with black; the females, orange, yellow, or pale
greenish, with or without black spots, or a few small grey dots. They
appear to moult, or "slough," in patches, though entire sloughs are
found occasionally.

  [Illustration: *Skeleton of Lizard.*]

The limbs of the Lizards agree structurally with those of the Mammals,
each ending in a well-formed hand or foot with five long and slender
digits, each with a curved claw--those of the hand worn short and blunt
by their use in scraping the earth.

Their principal food is furnished by the various tribes of
insects--flies, beetles, moths, and caterpillars, though spiders are
greatly appreciated. Unless they are very small, caterpillars do not
appear to be swallowed, but rather chewed and the skin rejected. The
name _vivipara_ refers to the fact that the female retains her eggs
until they are fully developed and ready to hatch, so that the young
are born free from the egg-membrane, or the egg breaks in the act of
oviposition or immediately after. They are deposited anywhere: there is
neither nest nor concealment, and the mother exhibits no interest or
concern in her progeny. These number from six to twelve, and are nearly
black. They remain motionless where they were born for several days.
They are about an inch long. They start life so well nourished that they
take no food for several days, then start hunting for small insects,
such as Aphides and other soft-bodied species. The teeth are very small
and conical, and unfitted to deal with hard substances; and as the two
halves of the lower jaw are firmly connected there can be no distension
of the small mouth to accommodate large parcels of food, as happens with
the Snakes.

Points to be noted in the external appearance of the Common Lizard, when
we have succeeded in capturing one, are the fact that the entire body is
clothed with smooth, slightly keeled, and scarcely overlapping scales,
small on the upper side, excepting the head, where they are large. On
the underside, too, they are larger, especially from the breast to the
vent, where they become broad plates, of which there are six rows, the
two central rows being much smaller than the lateral ones. A row of
larger scales forms a sort of collar across the underside of the neck.
The Lizards have not that fixed, ever-open-eyed stare of the Snakes. The
Lizard can follow your movements with his eye, and wink at you
intelligently, because he is provided with eyelids, which the Snake
lacks. He closes his eyes in sleep. When he puts out his tongue to
ascertain whether an insect is good for food, you will notice that the
broad tip of it is notched into two rounded lobes, instead of being
forked into two thread-like points, as in the snakes. The usual
attitude of the Common Lizard is with the extended tail and greater part
of the body resting on the ground, or other support, whilst the head and
foreparts are raised on the arms, and the muzzle turned to one side in
an attitude that suggests listening. It has been stated that Lizards are
susceptible to musical sounds, and that they may be attracted from their
hiding-places by judicious whistling.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 86._ _K 138._
    *Sand Lizard female.*
      Lacerta agilis.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 87._ _K 139._
    *Common Lizard.*
      Upper and under sides, showing different scaling.]

On the underside of the thighs will be found a row of small, roundish
scales, all perforated, and numbering from seven to thirteen. The
perforations are filled with a yellowish or brown substance, which
appears as a little cone above the opening. Its purpose has not been
settled satisfactorily, but Cope suggests that it may be for giving
the Lizard a better hold on slippery surfaces, seeing that the weight
of the body rests chiefly upon the thighs. Another point that should be
mentioned is the brittleness of the tail. In catching--or attempting to
catch--a Lizard, he should be grasped by the shoulders. If the tail be
held instead, it will probably come away in the hand, snapping at the
base as readily as though it were glass or sealing wax. A sort of tail
will grow from the stump if the Lizard lives long enough, but it is
always a poor, ungraceful affair.

This species is the Furze Evvet of the New Forest, and the
Harriman of Shropshire. In Cheshire it is the Swift. In suitable
situations--sandhills, fallows, heaths, and moors--it may be found all
over Great Britain, including the Isle of Man, and in most localities
it is common. It is the one true reptile that Ireland possesses,
and it appears to occur in all parts of the island, though not in
any abundance. It appears (like the Natterjack) to have escaped the
attentions of St. Patrick when "He gave the snakes and toads a twist and
banished them for ever." Its wider distribution includes Northern and
Central Europe and Siberia, where it shows a preference for mountainous
and high-lying country.


*Sand Lizard* (_Lacerta agilis_, Linn.).

At a glance there is little beyond its superior size to distinguish
the Sand Lizard from the Common Lizard; and in consequence the earlier
records of its occurrence in certain localities have had to be severely
revised. It appears to have been the rule of many recorders, when
specimens of the common species that exceeded average proportions
were captured, to put them down as Sand Lizards without any critical
examination. The truth is that as a British species the Sand Lizard is
found only in certain restricted localities in the southern counties
of Dorset, Hampshire, and Surrey, and the sandhills by the sea in
Lancashire and Cheshire. Its southern habitats agree almost exactly
with those of the Smooth Snake, for which it provides a favourite food.
It is not found either in Scotland or Ireland.

The adult male of the Sand Lizard is about seven and a half inches long,
of which more than half is tail. The female is about half an inch
longer, but the additional measure is added to the body, for the tail
is less than half of the whole length. The general colouring may be
described as a sandy-brown, with broken bands of darker tint. There is,
of course, a considerable amount of colour variation, and in the males
there is a marked tendency to a green suffusion, which in many cases is
so pronounced as to lead to a belief that the examples in question are
the non-indigenous Green Lizard (_Lacerta viridis_). It was, no doubt,
some markedly green males of the Sand Lizard which Gilbert White saw "on
a sunny sandbank, near Farnham, in Surrey," and thought were true Green
Lizards. There are rows of dark and white spots along the sides of
the back, flank, and tail, which give the appearance of longitudinal
stripes. The green of the male is more pronounced during the breeding
season (May-June) when it is also evident in the usual black-dotted
yellow of the underside. The black spots along his sides have white
centres. The under parts of the female are cream coloured, and the
three rows of white-centred spots on the sides are dark brown.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 88._ _K 140._
    *Sand Lizard.*
      The tail, seized by an aggressor, has been parted with.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 89._ _K 141._
    *Slow-worm.*
      Young hatching from newly laid eggs.]

The female deposits from five to twelve--usually about eight--eggs which
have white shells of the consistency of parchment. These are covered
with sand or leaves, and left for the sun to incubate. They are laid in
July, and the young are hatched in the same month or early in August.
The young Sand Lizards are grey-brown above and whitish below.

Like the Common Lizard, the Sand Lizard is very apt to lose its tail by
voluntary amputation; and short-tailed specimens are sometimes found
which are to be explained by supposing that the original tail has been
shed and another grown.

Characters that distinguish the Sand Lizard from the common species
will also be found in the general covering of scales--which are strongly
keeled--and in the ten to eighteen on the thigh that are perforated,
which are triangular, larger and flatter than the corresponding scales
in the Common Lizard. If we have an opportunity for examining the mouth,
too, we shall find that in addition to the teeth on the jaws there is a
row of them--vomerine teeth--on the hinder part of the palate. These are
not present in the Common Lizard. Both species spend the winter in a
dormant state underground.

Outside England, the Sand Lizard is a native of Central and Northern
Europe, its range extending to the North of Russia and Siberia; but
it is a lizard of the lower lands, whilst the Common Lizard on the
Continent is more plentiful in mountain districts.

      *      *      *      *      *

There are two species of Lizards that are natives of the Channel
Islands, and strangely one and not the other of these is usually
included in lists of British animals because the islands are politically
British. But the fauna and flora of the Channel Islands belong to those
of the nearest mainland--France--and therefore should not be included
among British species unless they occur also in England, Wales,
Scotland, or Ireland. The two species referred to are the Green Lizard
(_Lacerta viridis_), with tail equal to three-fourths of its entire
length, and the Wall Lizard (_Lacerta muralis_) of variable brown
coloration and a tail one and a half times the length of the head and
body. The Green Lizard may sometimes be seen in this country as an
escape from captivity, being a favourite subject with the keepers of
vivaria.


*Slow-worm* (_Anguis fragilis_, Linn.).

The average person cannot understand why the naturalist should be so
"pig-headed" as to regard the Slow-worm, Blind-worm or Deaf-adder as
a lizard when it is so obviously a snake, and has no legs such as a
properly constructed lizard should have. If the naturalist were given
to argument of the _tu quoque_ order he might retort by asking why the
average man persists in styling a swift-gliding reptile a Slow-worm,
or one with brilliant eyes a Blind-worm? But the probability is that
he will quote Longfellow and tell the inquirer that "things are not
[always] what they seem"--that under the close and polished, uniform
scaly covering there are vestiges of limbs that have been discarded in
the long evolutionary history of the species; that it has eyelids like
other lizards, that the two sides of the lower jaw have a bony union in
front, and that it has a notched not forked tongue--characters that do
not agree with the structure of any snake. But all this will fall upon
deaf ears, and the average man will go on slaughtering Slow-worms at
sight, and believing that he has done a brave and meritorious thing.

The Slow-worm attains a maximum length of seventeen or eighteen inches,
but the average "large" example is about a foot long. Its head is quite
small and short, not so broad as the body just behind it. The tail,
which is much longer than the head and body, and longer in the male
than in the female, tapers gradually, and is very slender before ending
in the short sharp point at the tip. In many examples this graceful
tapering of the tail is not evident, because at some time it has been
broken short, and the effort to renew it, whilst it gives a sort of
finish, never appears to be a success. There is usually a ragged end
to the old part, and the narrower new part appears to have been rather
clumsily stuck inside the fringe of old scales. Many specimens are in
this condition, for the Slow-worm is much more ready to part with its
tail than either of our other lizards. The scales on the upper and
under sides are nearly uniform in size and shape, broader than in the
other lizards and rounded on the hind margin which is thinner than the
dark coloured central part of the scale. The scales are quite without
keels, polished and plainly overlap their fellows. There is a thin dark
line down the centre of the back, and another on the upper part of each
side.

The small mouth has the jaws well armed with uniform slightly curved
teeth, whose points are all directed backwards. The bright eyes are
placed low down, not much above the upper jaw. The head is covered by
much larger scales than usual, but in this case the head regions are not
so clearly mapped out as in the other species, owing to the thin edges
of the scales giving no strong outlines. With a live Slow-worm in the
hand one gets a clear idea of the smoothness and close attachment of the
scaly covering. The feeling conveyed is that there are no scales: that
the external coat is continuous and homogeneous; and one marvels at
the reptile's power of gliding rapidly through the fingers. Though the
Slow-worm may be found on the edge of the wood, or on the heath, sunning
itself early in the spring, and apparently a lifeless casting in bronze,
on the slightest alarm it dives into the vegetable soil and speedily
disappears. In its basking attitude Slow-worm may be an appropriate
name; but when it begins to move we are astounded that it has been able
to keep so ridiculous a name.

The food of the Slow-worm is governed by the small size of the mouth. It
is not an easy matter to study its feeding habits when it is at large,
and our knowledge of its food preferences have been derived mainly from
Slow-worms in captivity. It will take spiders, small earthworms, and
small insects; but always shows a marked preference for the small
greyish-white slug (_Limax agrestis_) that is so great a pest to the
grower of tender vegetables. This slug the Slow-worm consumes in
quantity. Dr. Gerald Leighton, in his book on the "British Lizards,"
says: "I can vouch for a meal that consisted of seventeen slugs, the
Slow-worm being a large male sixteen inches long. But the usual number
taken seems to be from four to ten." Its principal feeding time is soon
after sunset, when the slugs are most in evidence on the surface and
beginning to make their nefarious attacks on the food of man. If the
gardener, professional and amateur, could only be taught such facts, the
sudden descent of the sharp edge of spade or hoe upon one of his ablest
helpers might be stayed. The reptiles and the batrachians are all his
friends.

Like the Common Lizard, the female Slow-worm retains her eggs until
they are fully developed, so that in August or September she produces
a litter of six to twelve animated silver needles about two inches in
length, with a thin black line along the centre of the back, and black
on the underside. These are very active and very beautiful, perfectly
independent and able to fend for themselves, catching insects, but at
once showing preference for slugs if these are to be found of a size
small enough to pass the tiny mouth. There is a record of a batch that
were three inches in length at birth, but this is unusual. Occasionally
the eggs are deposited before hatching.

Although in early spring the Slow-worm may be seen along hedgerows
frequently in the daytime, later in the year it must be sought in
the dusk when it is food-finding. It then spends the day under flat
stones and in burrows. In Cornwall years ago we could always find
a number of Slow-worms by turning over such loose stones along the
top of the cliffs; and we have since found them pretty generally
distributed without much regard to the nature of the soil. Its principal
enemies--besides man--are the Viper and the Hedgehog. In the winter the
Slow-worm retires--often in the company of half a dozen or so of its own
kind--into an underground burrow or a hollow beneath a large stone, and
goes to sleep; but it is the first of the reptiles to reappear at the
very beginning of spring. Like its congeners it casts its skin from time
to time--apparently about four times a year, but the frequency of the
sloughing depends, of course, upon whether it is a good slug year or the
reverse, for the shedding of the cuticle is in response to the demand
for more room for the growing body. The Slow-worm's length of life is
not known; but it does not appear to attain to sexual maturity until it
is four or five years of age. We have reliable knowledge of one that was
captured when about a foot in length (probably five or six years old),
fifteen years ago, which is still healthy and active.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 90._ _K 144._
    *Slow-worm.*
      Anguis fragilis.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 91A._
    *Grass Snake casts its skin.*
      1. Immediately before sloughing.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 91B._
    *Grass Snake casts its skin.*
      2. Operation nearly complete.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 91C._
    *Grass Snake casts its skin.*
      3. In new attire.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 92A._
    *Head of grass snake.*
      A. Difference of form and scaling in heads of the two species.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 92B._
    *Viper.*
      B. Difference of form and scaling in heads of the two species.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 93._ _L 145._
    *Grass Snake.*
      Tropidonotus natrix.]

It was in the Slow-worm that the discovery was made in 1886 of vestiges
of a degenerate median eye connected with the pineal gland--a discovery
that set all the biological investigators of the world at work. The same
gland has in the last few years been found to have important influence
in controlling the growth of the body in all vertebrates.

The Slow-worm is generally distributed throughout the British Islands,
with the exception of Ireland; it is much more plentiful in the south
and south-west of England than in the east or north, but even in the
south it is much more abundant in some districts than in others. Its
wider range includes all but the extreme north of Europe, Western Asia,
and Algeria.


SNAKES

*Grass Snake* (_Tropidonotus natrix_, Linn.).

Before entering upon a description of the greatly feared though harmless
Grass, Ringed, or Common Snake, it would be well to say a few words on
the structure of Snakes in general, and so avoid some amount of
repetition, for in a general way our three species are alike.

The Slow-worm, our legless Lizard, affords a convenient transition
to the Snakes; but the bony skeletons of Snake and Slow-worm exhibit
considerable differences. No Snake possesses a breastbone, bladebone,
or collarbone, so that all the ribs are free at their ends, and they
are strongly curved to produce the cylindrical form of body. When bulky
food is taken the ribs can be flattened out to allow of the necessary
distension of the body until digestion and muscular pressure have
reduced the bulk. The bones of the skull are connected so loosely that
the head can be flattened and widened, so that the mouth can admit
prey equal to three times the size of the Snake's head under normal
conditions. To assist in the swallowing of such large bodies, the two
halves of the lower jaw have no bony connection but are united instead
by elastic ligaments, so that each half can be moved independently of
the other, and by the alternate movement of the two sides with the teeth
all pointing backwards the food is worked back to the throat. There are
other teeth on the roof of the mouth which make it difficult for living
prey to struggle forward and escape when once it has been seized. The
teeth are all thinly coated with enamel, and are not planted in sockets.
If they should get broken by the severe work imposed upon them, they
are soon replaced by others which lie in reserve. Poison fangs are much
larger than ordinary teeth, and the enamel is folded so as to produce a
groove down which poison is pressed from a gland into the wound made by
the point of the fang. The fang is hinged at its base and ordinarily
lies pressed back upon the upper jaw, and is only "erected" when the
Snake is prepared to strike.

  [Illustration: *The Head Shields of a Snake.*
    _r_, rostral shield;
    _ff_, anterior and posterior frontal;
    _v_, interparietal;
    _s_, supraocular;
    _o_, parietal;
    _nn'_, nasal;
    _l_, loreal;
    _a_, preocular;
    _p_, postocular;
    _uu_, upper labial;
    _tt'_, temporal;
    _m_, mental;
    **, lower labial;
    _cc_, chin-shields.--After Günther.]

Externally the Snake is covered by small overlapping scales on the upper
parts and by broad plates on the under surface. The head is covered
mainly by shields, each of which has a definite name, but for the
purposes of this book it is not necessary to enter upon a tedious
recital of these terms, beyond giving them for reference under the
diagram of a Snake's head.

  [Illustration: *Skeleton of Snake.*]

The eyes of a Snake are always wide open, for there are no movable
eyelids to close them. The eyeball has slight power of movement under
its transparent cover, which protects it much as the watch-glass
protects the delicate hands of the watch. As in the Slow-worm, there
is no external indication of ears, though these are present under the
scales. The very long and slender tongue divides forwards into two
branches, and when not in use is drawn into a sheath at its base. It is
constantly used to ascertain the nature of things by contact, and for
this purpose is protruded through a little gap in the front of the upper
jaw. The gape of the mouth extends far beyond the eye. The forward
extremity (_glottis_) of the wind-pipe can be thrust outside the mouth
when, owing to the passage of a bulky victim, there is danger of
obstruction by compression.

The British Snakes represent the two families Colubridæ and Viperidæ.

      *      *      *      *      *

Every summer and autumn our daily newspapers afford evidence that on
the subject of Snakes the average man has not advanced in knowledge
beyond that of his prototype a thousand years or so back. With all that
has been done in various ways during the last half-century to spread
knowledge of natural things, it is astonishing that editors should admit
scare reports about Snakes without a line to set the reader right.
Internal evidence shows that nine-tenths of these alarming reports about
poisonous and aggressive Snakes refer to the innocuous Grass Snake. This
is the kind of thing that reflects the vaunted intelligence and calmness
of the average Briton:--

"An enormous snake was killed yesterday at ----, only a few yards from
where some children were playing. The Rev. Mr. Blank courageously seized
the reptile behind the head, but when it hissed savagely at him he was
forced to throw it down. Its head was then smashed with a pole, and
finally it was despatched with the aid of a spade. The venomous monster
was found to be over three feet in length. Its nest was found and a
large number of eggs destroyed."

  [Illustration: _Pl. 94._ _L 148._
    *Vipers.*
      The two sexes: the lower figure is the male.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 95._ _L 149._
    *Smooth Snake.*
      Coronella austriaca.]

A very elementary knowledge of our native snakes--such as all country
folk might be expected to possess--would dispose of all this fear and
sensation, for no one has ever found a Viper or Adder--our only venomous
snake--that measured quite as much as three feet, or that had a nest of
eggs.

      *      *      *      *      *

The Grass Snake is our largest British species, full-grown females
averaging four feet in length; the males a foot less. Exceptional
examples are little short of six feet, and in Italy the same species
attains to a length of eight feet. It is of graceful form, the body
tapering gently from its middle to the very slender tip of the tail. The
long, narrow head, covered with large shields, ends in a blunt snout,
with eyes and nostrils at the sides. The rather large eyes have round
pupils circled with gold and a dark brown iris. Just behind the head
there are two patches of yellow or orange (sometimes white) forming a
bright collar which serves to indicate this species at a glance. In
large females this collar is sometimes missing. Immediately behind it
are two patches of black, often united in the middle line, and behind
these the ground colour of grey, olive, or brown is uniform to the tip
of the tail. Upon the ground colour of the back are laid two rows of
small blackish spots, and a row of short vertical bars along each side.
The underside, which is covered with broad plates, is chequered in black
and white (or grey); but is sometimes entirely black. The tail accounts
for about one-fifth only of the total length.

Apart from the head-shields and the broad plates of the underside,
the Grass Snake is covered with nineteen rows of small, overlapping,
lance-shaped scales with a central ridge or "keel." These scales are an
outgrowth from the skin, and when the Snake moults they do not fall off
as the hairs of fur-clad animals do, but the entire skin with its scales
is cast intact. It separates first at the edges of the jaws, and the
Snake pushes against the ground, stones, or plant stems until the loose
skin is behind the head. Then it glides out of the remainder, reversing
it in the process. In these discarded sloughs the lens-like covering of
the eye will be found unbroken.

In the autumn the Grass Snake retires to some safe shelter under the
roots of trees, among the stubs of a coppice, under a brushwood pile or
fernstack, in order to pass the winter in sleep. As a rule, several or
many associate in hibernation, and when found they are usually twined
together in intricate knots. Here they remain until March or April, when
the Frogs, Toads, and Newts, emerging from a similar retirement, are
available for a good meal. About this time the males seize the females
in their jaws, and with their bodies entwined pairing takes place. Some
time between June and August the female seeks some convenient mass of
fermenting vegetable matter amidst which to burrow and deposit her
eggs. If a heap of fresh stable manure is available she will prefer
it, the heat hastening incubation. The eggs--which may number a dozen
or anything up to four dozen--are equal-ended ovals with a tough,
parchment-like shell, and all connected in a string. As soon as laid
they begin to absorb moisture from their surroundings, and increase in
size until they are about an inch and a quarter in length. They hatch
in from six to ten weeks, according to temperature, and the baby Grass
Snakes measure from six to eight inches. Before hatching they are
provided with a special egg-tooth projecting from the front of the jaws,
which enables them to pierce the egg-shell. It soon becomes loose and
drops off after its special function has been performed. The young Snake
sheds its skin before taking its first meal, and thereafter goes through
the same process four or five times in a year.

The Grass Snake appears to have a life comparatively long. The female is
about four years old, with a length of two feet, before she begins to
breed. Gadow mentions a fine female which he had alive for nine years,
and during this period her length increased from thirty-five to
forty-two inches.

Although the Grass Snake may be found frequently about ponds and ditches
where there are Frogs, Toads, and Newts to be caught, it is by no means
restricted to such resorts, but may be met with on chalk hills, sandy
heaths, and other places far removed from water. In addition to the
amphibians mentioned, it feeds occasionally on fish, mice, and small
birds. The young Snake takes worms, tadpoles, and the young of newts,
frogs, and toads. It swims well and often enters the water to obtain its
prey. Although an agile reptile, it may be caught without difficulty
where the ground is not too rich in mouse runs or too well covered with
furze. The undulations by which it progresses are always horizontal, not
vertical as sometimes represented by imaginative artists. When captured
it seldom makes any attempt at biting, though it will hiss freely and
snap its jaws. It usually seeks rather to disgust its captor by the
voiding of a fetid secretion with a strong odour of garlic among other
objectionable scents. It soon becomes gentle and tame.

The Grass Snake is widely distributed over England, Wales, and the
south-eastern parts of Scotland. It appears never to have reached
Ireland. Various attempts have been made to introduce it in the latter
country, but the prejudices of the people and their respect for the
legendary miracle of their patron saint have always prevented the Snakes
from establishing themselves.


*Smooth Snake* (_Coronella austriaca_, Lacepede).

Although in general appearance similar to the Grass Snake the Smooth
Snake in the hand exhibits a sufficient number of differences to make
its identification easy. The smoothness which gives it a name is at
once evident to our sense of touch, and is due to the fact that all its
scales lack the little keels or ridges that give a certain roughness to
the common species. It never attains to so large a size as the Grass
Snake, its maximum length being two feet.

The ground colour of this snake on the upper side is grey, brown, or
reddish, with small black, brown, or red spots, which are usually in
pairs; occasionally there are three lighter longitudinal stripes. The
upper part of the head is sometimes blackish; this is more frequently so
in young examples. A dark streak runs from the nostrils and through the
eye to the angle of the mouth. This streak may be prolonged, even to the
tail. On the underside the colouring is some tint of orange, red, brown,
grey, or black, with or without black spots or dots. The eye has a round
pupil like that of the Grass Snake, and this helps to give it a similar
gentle appearance.

Prior to the year 1853 British specimens had been regarded as mere
variations of the Grass Snake, but in that year it was captured by Mr.
F. Bond at Ringwood by the New Forest, though it was not recorded under
its proper name until six years later. It has been found since in other
parts of Hampshire, in Dorset, Surrey, and Berkshire; in some places
abundantly, especially those in which the Sand Lizard occurs, this being
the Smooth Snake's favourite prey. Its usual resorts are heaths, stony
wastes and wooded hillsides. Its food consists mainly of Lizards, but
it also takes young Snakes and Slow-worms; occasionally it consumes mice
and mice-like mammals including the Voles and Shrews. When these are
sufficiently large it is said to coil around them in Boa-constrictor
fashion.

Pairing takes place soon after emergence from hibernation in spring.
As in the case of the Slow-worm and the Common Lizard, the eggs are
retained until the young are ready to hatch out, and they are born about
the end of August. They vary in number from two to fifteen, but usually
there are about six to a birth. They are enveloped in a thin membrane
which is ruptured immediately, and the Snakes are seen to be about five
or six inches in length.

Like the Grass Snake this species emits an objectionable odour when
captured, and at first attempts to bite, but this unfriendly phase
passes quickly, and it becomes perfectly tame and exhibits a
considerable amount of intelligence.

It may be as well to add that, if we count the rows of small scales
on the back and sides of either of our non-venomous Snakes, we shall
find there are nineteen of them. In the Viper there are twenty-one
rows--rarely nineteen or twenty-three. Each one of these scales is
marked with a tiny pit which appears to coincide with the end of a nerve
fibre, so that one may say the sense of touch resides in every separate
scale. The head is less distinct from the body than is the case in the
Grass Snake; and the slender tail is one-fourth of the entire length in
the male and one-sixth in the female.

The Smooth Snake is found throughout the greater part of Europe.


*Viper or Adder* (_Vipera berus_, Linn.).

At a superficial glance the Viper is quite distinct from our other
Snakes. Instead of the long, gracefully tapered body of these, the
Viper is short and thick in the body with a short tail. So far as
the length is concerned, the average Viper is less than two feet. A few
exceptionally large females have been recorded measuring two feet eleven
inches; but the female is always slightly longer than the male--usually
about an inch more. Two feet three inches may be regarded as the
ordinary maximum for a female. The head is flatter above, and it
broadens behind the eyes, so that it is very distinct from the body;
further, the shields on the head are very much smaller than the
corresponding plates of the Grass Snake. The iris of the eye is
coppery-red, and the pupil is vertical--which usually denotes nocturnal
habits, but the Viper is active by day as well as by night, and is fond
of basking in the sunshine.

Respecting colour, there is a considerable range of variation, much of
it sexual; but, generally speaking, it may be said to be some tint of
brown, olive, or grey, and this ground colour may be so dark that the
darker markings are scarcely perceptible on a cursory view. Along the
sides there are whitish spots, sometimes reduced to mere dots. The
brown, red-brown, or olive males have black markings; the grey or
whitish males are marked with brown or black, and have the underside
black. The throat is black, or whitish with scales spotted or edged with
black.

The females if brown or brick-red have dark brown or red markings; olive
females have brick-red bands or spots. The yellowish-white chin and
throat are sometimes tinged with red. The eyes of the female are smaller
than those of the male.

The markings are subject to a good deal of variation as well as the
ground colour. The usual wavy or zigzag line down the centre of the
back, with a series of spots on either side, may be broken up into oval
spots; and the characteristic pair of dark bars on the head may form
either a */\* or an *X*. The broad shields which cover the lower surface
may be grey, brown, bluish, or black, or bluish with triangular spots of
black, sometimes with white dots along the margins. Below the end of the
tail the colour is yellow or orange. Specimens have been recorded almost
entirely of a rich black, the excepted portion being the whitish
underside of the head and throat.

The usual haunts of the Viper are sandy heaths, dry moors, the sunny
slopes of hills and hedgebanks, bramble clumps, nettle beds, heaps of
stones and sunny places in woods; but we have also found it in heathy
and grassy places that were distinctly and permanently wet. For food
they appear to prefer small mammals such as mice, shrews and voles,
young weasels; but also take birds, lizards, slow-worms, frogs, newts,
and large slugs. The young subsist for a time on insects and worms.

The Viper retires in autumn to a hollow under dry moss among the
heather, under faggot stacks or into the discarded and leaf-covered
ground nests of birds. They reappear about April, and may then be seen
coiled on a sunny bank, apparently more concerned to absorb heat than
to find food. They pair at this season, and the young (varying from
five to twenty) are born in August or September. In this species, again,
the eggs are retained until fully developed, and when the young see the
light they are coiled up tightly in a thin, transparent membrane, which
usually breaks during the process of birth. They measure from six to
eight inches, and are at once independent.

The hoary old legend about the mother Viper opening her jaws to afford
sanctuary to her young in time of danger has probably arisen from some
occasional acts of cannibalism. It presupposes what is not true of any
of our reptiles--that the young remain with their parent. They all begin
life equipped for independence, and act accordingly.

The Viper is not so amenable to a life of captivity as our other
Snakes. It is not amiable, indeed its temper may be described as short
and sulky, which it displays by refusing all offers of food; most
captive Vipers die of starvation, the "hunger strike" being their
effective protest against the deprivation of liberty. On being captured
they are always ready to bite; but in a state of freedom the Viper is
not the aggressive monster that is popularly supposed. It seems to
depend largely upon its inactivity for escaping observation, but when
it knows it has been discovered its immediate impulse is to seek cover.
Accidents from Viper bites are rare in this country, where people go
about well shod, and there are very few cases of authenticated death
from this cause. On the Continent, however, such cases are frequent;
and it is suggested that in the warmer parts of Europe, where bare feet
are more numerous, the Viper's venom may also be more active than it is
here. It is the toes or fingers that are most likely to be bitten, for
the Viper's mouth is not large enough to enable it to bite the larger
parts. The mechanism by which the poison is introduced into the blood of
its victim has been briefly described on page 146.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 96._ _L 156._
    *Viper or Adder.*
      Vipera berus.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 97._ _L 157._
    *Edible Frog.*
      With vocal sacs inflated in "singing".]

It must not be supposed from the foregoing remarks that we deprecate
caution in dealings with the Viper; but we do desire, if possible, to
dispose of that senseless fear that is unworthy of man. If the victim
is in bad health the bite of the Viper may involve very unpleasant
consequences--even death, but this is much more likely to follow from
the sting of a gnat! In case of a bite from this species, the approved
treatment is to suck the wound thoroughly and apply oil to it. The
rustic remedy approved by quack doctors is an oil prepared from the
Viper's own fat--"a hair of the dog that bit you" sort of cure. A
ligament above the wound will prevent the poison spreading; and the
blood may be made alkaline by the internal administration of ammonia.
The popular idea in many parts is that the reddish coloured Vipers have
more virulent poison than the others, but there does not appear to be
any good grounds for this differentiation.

The Viper is found in all parts of Britain, but is not known in Ireland.


AMPHIBIOUS ANIMALS: FROGS, TOADS, AND NEWTS

*Frog* (_Rana temporaria_, Linn.).

With the Common Frog, popularly classed as a Reptile, we commence
acquaintance with the zoological class Batrachia, creatures that
begin life at a much lower stage of development and have to pass
through a fish-like larval form before attaining to any likeness
to their parents. The Reptiles get through these developmental stages
whilst they are still in the egg; they never have water-breathing
organs. The Batrachians or Amphibians are clothed with soft skin which
is not protected by armour plates or scales as seen in the Lizards and
Snakes, but through which they are able to oxygenate the blood. The
Frogs, Toads, and Newts constitute a class intermediate in structure
and development between the Fishes and the Reptiles. Our native
species represent the two orders--Ecaudata (tailless), including the
Frogs and Toads; and Caudata (tailed) comprising the Newts.

Everybody knows the Frog as well as they know any of the backboned
animals, and every youngster even is familiar with the main facts of its
development, from the jelly masses of eggs in the pond early in spring,
through the tadpole stage to the attainment of four legs and wonderful
leaping powers. It is common knowledge that he has a moist, smooth skin
(the supersensitive erroneously say "slimy") of yellowish ground colour
overlaid with streaks and spots of brown. There is a big patch of brown
behind each eye, and the long hind legs have cross-bars of the same
colour. The ground tint of the Frog varies in different individuals
according to the situation in which we may find them; for the pigment
cells of the skin expand and contract under the influence of varying
intensities of light reflected from the surroundings, causing colour
changes much after the manner of those of the Chameleon, though less
marked.

  [Illustration: *Skeleton of Frog.*]

The Frog's forelimbs are very short compared with the hind pair,
and the four moderate-sized fingers are not connected by webs; whereas,
the hind limbs have their several bones lengthened, and the abnormal
lengthening of those of the ankle gives the legs the appearance of
having a supplementary joint. The leg is one and a half times the length
of head and body. The foot has five long toes connected for half their
length by a "web" of skin which constitutes a very efficient paddle when
the Frog is in the water. Of these hind toes the fourth is considerably
longer than the long third and fifth.

The Frog's head is as broad as it is long, the muzzle rounded, and the
horizontal gape of the mouth extends back beyond the eye. The prominent
eyes are perched up on the forehead, and have a fine golden iris and a
horizontal pupil. The Frog differs from the Snakes and agrees with the
Lizards in having eyelids; he has also, like the Birds, an additional
lid--the nictitating membrane. There is a row of delicate teeth along
the upper jaw, but none on the lower; there are others on the palate.
The deeply notched tongue is attached by its base to the front part
of the mouth, the tip far in towards the throat; in use it has to be
suddenly turned over so that the tip is projected far beyond the muzzle.
The large circular depression behind and below the eye is the drum of
the Frog's ear.

The Frog has no neck, the base of his skull coming close to the
collar-bones, and there are only a few pairs of very short apologies for
ribs between the shoulders and the long pelvis which produces that steep
incline at the rear of his back. He is clothed entirely with a smooth,
soft skin, which is kept moist by the action of minute mucous glands
distributed all over the body. A row of these glands of larger size
forms a pale line running back from the eye on either side. The skin
plays an important part in the oxygenation of the Frog's blood; and the
experimental physiologists have shown that a Frog deprived of its lungs
can carry on its respiration for a lengthened period through the skin
alone. Owing to the absence of ribs he has to fill his lungs by
swallowing air.

The male is less portly than the female, and he is further distinguished
by having two pads on the first finger which in the breeding season
become large rough cushions enabling him to hold his mate. In his throat
there is a pair of vocal sacs enabling him to produce his love songs,
and when these are in use their inflation causes a distension of the
skin of the throat; but without these adjuncts the female manages to
give answering croakings. When these duets are sung under water they
produce some curious effects.

When the pairing season arrives--quite early, usually about the middle
of March, but sometimes in February--all the Frogs that have just come
out of hibernation select their mates. Any pool of water will do,
however transient, and they often make mistakes in this matter, their
egg-masses being left high and dry when the waters dry up. The eggs are
deposited in a mass of a thousand to two thousand at the bottom of the
water, and at first they are only about a tenth of an inch in diameter,
but the gelatinous covering absorbs so much water that they swell up to
a third of an inch. There is a corresponding lightening of the mass,
which floats to the surface and is available for observation. Each
of the little jelly-spheres is seen to have a black centre--the egg
proper--with a white spot on the lower side. If the spring is an average
one, in about four weeks' time the black specks will have developed into
brown larvæ or tadpoles, and having escaped from the egg these will be
clinging to the remains of the jelly mass by means of a pair of suckers
on the underside of the head. There are at present no indications
of limbs--head, body and tail, like those of a fish, merge one into
another. Even the gills are not yet developed, though what we may term
the buds of them are seen on the bars separating the slits behind the
head on each side. These buds soon expand into gill-plumes through
which the blood circulates, taking up oxygen from the water that passes
between them. There is as yet no mouth, but this will soon open, and
horny plates on its jaws will enable the tadpole to crop soft vegetable
matter, upon which it subsists chiefly. Later on, the gill-plumes will
be hidden by a flap which grows over them. The full series of stages in
this development may easily be watched by keeping a few tadpoles in a
glass of water with a little growing pond weed.

Ultimately, the limbs appear. Though all four develop simultaneously,
the hind pair _appear_ first, because the forelimbs are at first hidden
by the flap which grew over the gills. After the disappearance of
the gill-plumes, proper lungs are developed inside the body, and the
animal changes from a fish-like water-breather to an air-breather, in
preparation for a life on land. When all the legs are well out the form
of the tadpole soon changes to that of the Frog, except that it has a
long tail. You may read in some books that the tail is shed, but this
is a mistake that no one could make who has watched day by day the
evolution of the Frog from the tadpole. The tail is _absorbed_; it gets
smaller daily, until finally the hind body is rounded off and there is
nothing left to indicate that it once ended in a tail. Ultimately the
Frog may attain a length of head and body equal to four inches.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 98._ _L 160._
    *Common Frog.*
      Rana temporaris.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 99A._
      Spawn mass soon after deposit.
    *Development of Frog's Eggs.*]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 99B._
      Eggs apparent after absorption of water.
    *Development of Frog's Eggs.*]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 99C._
      Germs assume Tadpole form.
    *Development of Frog's Eggs.*]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 99D._
      Tadpoles begin to hatch out.
    *Development of Frog's Eggs.*]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 100A._
      Immature Tadpoles on outside of egg-jelly.
    *Early stages of Common Frog.*]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 100B._
      Tadpoles begin to leave. Egg-jelly decomposing.
    *Early stages of Common Frog.*]

  [Illustration: _Pls. 100C,D,E,F._
      Rise and decline of tail, and development of limbs.
    *Early stages of Common Frog.*]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 101._ _M 161._
    *Edible Frog.*
      Rana esculenta.]

Mr. E. S. Goodrich, F.R.S., has recently demonstrated that eggs obtained
from a female Frog by dissection can be fertilised by the leucocytes or
colourless corpuscles of the blood. He exhibited a fatherless Frog, so
obtained, before the Linnean Society in November, 1918.

When all the tadpoles have become real little Frogs, with their legs
sufficiently firm to enable them to indulge in hopping exercises, they
still for a time venture no further than the very shallow water at the
extreme edge of the pond, where they can walk partially submerged. Then
one day there comes a heavy summer rain storm--a deluge on a small
scale. Every little Frog then appears to hear the word "Go!" for with
one impulse they all scramble out of the pond into the jungle of wet
grass, they know not whither. If there is a road near, that is the place
in which to form an idea of their prodigious numbers. The few wayfarers
who may be hurrying along that road, looking for possible shelter from
the pitiless rain, and seeing the Frogs hopping along much as the
raindrops bounce, are quite prepared to declare that they came down from
the clouds with the rain. Many persons who in the ordinary affairs of
life would be regarded as reliable witnesses have testified that this
is what happens. To them it seems a much more reasonable explanation of
this sudden appearance--they term it a phenomenon--than the naturalist's
statement that the Frogs had been waiting in the pond for the psychical
moment to arrive for their dispersion--the time when the reeking herbage
of many acres around would offer the safest conditions for their tender
bodies to embark on the great adventure of life, their distribution over
wide areas where they could carry out their proper function, the control
of any inordinate increase in the insect population. For months they
will crawl and hop invisibly among the lush grass and journey through
the dense herbage of hedgebottoms and spinneys. Some will come under
fences even into our gardens, to help us in an unequal warfare in which
the gardener is always defeated by the insect, whether the bigger
combatant admits it or not. Their food consists entirely of insects,
slugs, and worms. In turn the Frog constitutes the food of many larger
animals, including fishes, birds, snakes and weasels. The winter is
spent embedded in mud at the pond-bottom, or in damp holes in the earth.

The Common Frog is distributed widely all over Britain, but is only of
local occurrence in Ireland. Abroad it ranges over Central and Northern
Europe as far as Sweden and Norway, and eastward to Mid-Asia.


*Edible Frog* (_Rana esculenta_, Linn.).

Although the Common Frog is the only species that is really native in
Britain, another one--the Edible Frog, a Continental species--has been
naturalised in the Eastern Counties of England since the early part
of the nineteenth century, when Mr. Geo. Berney brought about 1500
specimens from France and Belgium and turned them loose in the Fens, in
the neighbourhood of Stoke Ferry, where they are no longer plentiful,
though they occur locally in various parts of Norfolk. A few years later
(1843) Mr. Thurnall discovered the species in the Cambridgeshire Fens at
Foulmire--a great distance (30 to 40 miles) from Stoke Ferry. Bell
says his father had noted the presence of these Foulmire frogs, under
the name of "Whaddon Organs," about the middle of the eighteenth
century; so that it appeared that Mr. Berney had "taken coals to
Newcastle"--in other words, had introduced the Edible Frog to a part of
England where it already existed. In 1884 Dr. G.A. Boulenger discovered
that the Foulmire frogs were of the Italian form of _Rana esculenta_
known as the variety _lessonæ_, which made it doubtful whether they
could be travelled descendants of Mr. Berney's frogs. So it was
suggested that they were a survival from an introduction by the
Romans--who are always dragged in to help out doubtful cases.

The difference in the French and Italian forms is mainly one of
colour, the type being a beautiful grass-green, whereas _lessonæ_ is
olive-brown. But it has since transpired that _lessonæ_ is not
restricted to Italy as Boulenger thought, for he has more recently
discovered it in Belgium and near Paris, and it has been recorded
from parts of the former Austrian and German Empires. Such differences
as there are in the two forms are not fundamental, and the brown tint
of the Foulmire examples may be due to their environment. Fresh
importations from the Continent have been liberated in recent years
in Hampshire, Surrey, Oxfordshire, and Bedfordshire.

The Edible Frog attains to a rather larger size than the Common Frog.
It is usually without the dark patch extending from the eye to the
shoulder, and the markings of the body--especially the bright yellow and
black marblings of the hinder parts--are darker and bolder. There is
usually a light yellow or green line running down the middle of the back
from the muzzle to the hinder extremity. The most distinctive feature,
however, is restricted to the male sex: at the hinder angle of the
mouth, just below the ear, are external vocal sacs which, when the owner
is inclined to be melodious, become distended with air to the size of
large peas, giving him a very quaint appearance. The croak differs from
that of the Common Frog, and has been described as "more of a loud
snore, exactly like that of the Barn Owl;" but this probably refers
to the vocal efforts of the female, for Bell says it is so loud and
shrill as to have obtained for the frogs the names of "Cambridgeshire
Nightingales" and "Whaddon Organs." The males continue to "sing" after
the breeding season is past, particularly on warm moonlight nights, when
they may be heard for over a mile when the choir consists of several
hundred voices. The notes are "Brekeke, gwarr, ooaar, coarx."

To return to a description of the Edible Frog. Full-grown examples
measure from two and a half to four inches of head and body; the females
larger than the males. The head is more slender than in the Common Frog,
and the brown eardrum is two-thirds of the diameter of the eye. The
teeth on the palate form two oblique lines; and there is a pair of
glandular folds behind the eye. The ground colour of the upper parts
ranges from dull brown through olive to bright green, with dark brown or
blackish spots on the back and larger patches of similar tint on the
limbs. There is usually a bronzy-brown line along each side of the back,
in addition to the central one already named. The back of the thigh is
always spotted with black and white or yellow. Though the thigh of the
Common Frog is barred or blotched, it never bears these additional
spots. The coloration generally is much brighter where the vegetation
is light than in dark swamps with sombre vegetation.

The developmental history of the Edible Frog from the egg to the loss
of the tadpole tail follows much the same course as that of the common
species, and it is not necessary to recapitulate it. The eggs are more
numerous, one female producing from five to ten thousand. The tadpole
condition lasts three or four months. Full-grown tadpoles are about
two and a half inches long, of which more than an inch and a half is
tail. The frog that has just got rid of his tail measures only half an
inch. The young frogs are not such wanderers as their Common cousins,
but remain in the vicinity of their birthplace, unless the pond dries
up. They like to bask in the sun and wait till their food comes within
range of their extensible tongues. They become mature between the fourth
and fifth years.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 102A._ _M 164._
      Egg-ropes of Toad coiled around water-plants.
    *Common Toad.*]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 102B._ _M 164._
      Newly-hatched Tadpoles clinging to remains of egg-ropes.
    *Common Toad.*]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 103._ _M 165._
    *Common Toad.*
      Bufo Vulgaris.]

This is the Frog whose hind legs are served as food in the restaurants
of France and of the French quarters in London. We have not experimented
with them as food, but remember that Frank Buckland, who was keen upon
out-of-the-ordinary dishes, described them as "tasting more like the
delicate flesh of the Rabbit than anything else I can think of." Our old
friend, Miss Susan Hopley, told us that she once unwittingly partook of
a much larger kind in the United States, and innocently remarked, "What
a pity to kill such very young chickens!" She says she was moved to the
remark by the insipidity of the dish.

The Edible Frog is found all over Europe and in Northern Asia.

      *      *      *      *      *

The beautiful little Tree Frog (_Hyla arborea_), of bright green colour,
with expanded toe-tips which make it an expert climber, is widely
distributed on the Continent, whence it is frequently introduced to our
conservatories. Some of these examples turned loose years ago in the
Isle of Wight have become naturalised in some parts of the island, where
they have become so numerous as to arouse complaints against their noisy
nocturnal croaking during the breeding season.


*Common Toad* (_Bufo vulgaris_, Laurent).

Though in general terms the Toad may be said to be of similar form to
the Frog, there is no need for a very minute catalogue of differences
to enable the reader to discriminate between the two. So well-known are
both amphibians to sight that the majority of persons know them by their
correct names on a casual glance; yet we have met many who confuse them,
and for this minority it is well to give some of the Toad's points.

He has a flatter back than the Frog, the bones of the pelvis not
producing so sharp an angle; and the hind legs are not so long in
proportion to the body, only slightly exceeding the length of head and
body, whereas in the Frog they are one and a half times that length.
The Toad seems more solidly built than the Frog, with broader head,
shorter limbs, and in general aspect is closer to the earth, a heavier,
more grovelling creature than the vaulting Frog. This earthliness is
accentuated by the texture and colour of his skin. Instead of the moist
and shining, bright coloured coat of the Frog we have a dry, dull,
pimply skin so strongly resembling the earth that he is frequently
passed by as a lifeless clod. That is one of the Toad's strong points;
and he has the patience to squat motionless for hours, tiring out any
enemy that looks for movement as proof of life. He is too heavy to take
a leap; instead he progresses by very short jumps on all four feet which
give the impression of being accomplished only by a great effort. But he
rises alertly to his full quadrupedal height when he is considering the
best way to negotiate a worm.

The colour of the Toad varies a good deal according to the nature of the
soil upon which he happens to live. It is usually some tint of brown or
grey, but the brown may be almost red in sandpits, a rich brown or a
dirty brown; the grey may be light or with an olive tinge or a sooty
hue that may pass as black. As he is only active in the evenings and
at night, any of these tints serve to render him inconspicuous in the
general duskiness. Even his bright eyes, being coppery-red in colour, do
not serve to draw attention to him.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 104._ _M 166._
    *Natterjack Toad.*
      Bufo calamita.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 105._ _M 167._
    *Natterjack and Common Toad*,
      showing principal differences in the two species.]

The pimples of various size that diversify his skin are not mere
ornament, though they help materially to produce the clod-resemblance.
They are glands that on occasion pour out an acrid and offensive fluid
that often saves the Toad when he is caught up in the jaws of some
unsophisticated carnivorous beast or bird. Experience teaches such
enemies to leave the Toad alone. The largest of these glands--the
parotid--may be seen as an elongated, porous swelling behind the eye.
The underside is whitish, the white being qualified always with an
admixture of yellow, brown, or red, sometimes spotted with black.

In the matter of size: taking the head and body for length, average
males measure about two and a half inches and females an inch longer.
Occasionally we may meet with much larger examples, and we may safely
set down such monsters as females. The male has no vocal sacs, internal
or external, as in the Frogs; but both sexes can croak with several
variations of tone. These sounds are emitted much more freely in the
pairing season. The male develops special grasping pads on the palm
and three inner fingers, at the pairing time.

After the breeding season Toads wander away from the water, and
distribute their forces over field, hedgerow, wood, and gardens,
wherever there is an abundance of insect life, for the quantity of
food each Toad consumes is enormous. It includes beetles, caterpillars,
flies, snails, worms, woodlice, and small mice. If the droppings of a
Toad be examined, they will be found to consist very largely of the
indigestible parts of beetles. The Toad spends the hotter part of the
day concealed under the lower foliage of plants, and as many nocturnal
insects seek similar situations in the daytime, he has no difficulty in
enjoying a continual feast. His appetite appears to be always keen, no
matter how well he has fed. Some years ago, when we were pointing to a
portly female in her favourite daytime "form" in the garden, a friend
expressed the opinion that she was overfed, and we remarked that you
cannot overfeed a Toad. Our friend was sceptical, and undertook to
provide more food than she could eat. There followed a hunt for the
fattest caterpillars and the longest worms, and the Toad accepted them
as readily as though she were breaking a fast. The caterpillar hunter
grew tired of the business whilst the Toad was still quite fresh, and
he admitted that with so elastic an integument there was no knowing what
was the limit of a Toad's feeding capacity.

The Toad has the homing faculty well developed. By the judicious
wriggling of his hind quarters he scoops out a hollow in the soil,
preferably under a root or stone, so that he can lie without being
conspicuous. In the evening he sets out hunting, and may travel some
distance; but before morning he is back snugly in his form, where
he may be found during the day for many months. A similar sense of
locality--"orientation" the naturalists call it--is manifested in the
choice of ponds for breeding. Any chance pool, however temporary in
character, will serve the Frog, but the Toad is more particular and
has special requirements for a nursery. Any one who has observed our
batrachians during a series of years must have noticed that scores of
Toads may be seen in early spring, all converging upon a particular
pond, perhaps passing some other piece of water that looks quite
suitable for their purpose. In a garden where we kept a portion wild as
cover for many of the smaller animals, we had a considerable number of
Frogs and Toads that had come there voluntarily. A small pond was freely
visited by them, together with Newts, an occasional snake and stray
aquatic birds. The Frogs and Newts bred there every year; the Toads
never. In a field two or three hundred yards beyond our boundary was
a large deep pond that had formerly been a brickmaker's pit, but the
suitable earth being exhausted it had been allowed to fill with water.
To this pond Toads came in the spring from all quarters. On a mild moist
evening when the great impulse took possession of the Toads, we used
to see scores of them hopping across a well-used road that divided the
grasslands, and next morning would see the lifeless bodies of many that
had been flattened out by motor-wheels in the dark. On the further side
of the pond the continuity of the grassland was again broken by a
railway line, and here you would see them hopping across the track and
climbing over the rails, many, of course, meeting fate in the adventure.

In our present neighbourhood there is a large pond fed by springs from
the plateau gravels of an extensive common. In the days of our boyhood
there was open grassland and copse between the common and the pond with
only an ordinary hedge to mark that it was private land. At the present
time the pond forms a fine piece of ornamental water in a private
garden, and on all sides residential roads surround it. Yet this pond
must have been a Toads' breeding place in the old days, for in the
spring we find Toads on the tarred sidewalks of the roads seeking for
gaps in the fence through which they may reach the desired trysting
place; and we have sometimes put them in the way of finding it. It is
very probable that in such cases the Toads are making their way back to
the identical pond in which they first saw the light--a corollary to the
case of the migrant birds that find their way back to build their nests
in the copse or hedgerow where they were hatched.

The small, black eggs of the Toad differ from those of the Frogs in the
fact that they form a double row embedded in a gelatinous string ten
to fifteen feet in length. Like those of the Frog the eggs by imbibing
water swell to three times their original size. The strings are wound
about the stems of water-weeds by the movements of their parents, and
the little black larvæ are hatched out in about a fortnight. For the
first few days they cling to the egg-strings, then hang tails downwards
from the under sides of leaves. They go through similar stages to those
of the Frog tadpole, and become small tailless Toads, a little more than
half an inch long, in eleven or twelve weeks. It is five years before
they reach maturity; but the full period of life is not known. In old
age they frequently succumb to the attacks of flesh-eating flies whose
eggs are deposited on the back of the Toad, and the small maggots
entering by eye or nostril devour the brain and eyes.

The Common Toad is found all over England, Wales, and Scotland; but
Ireland appears never to have had it, in spite of the legend that St.
Patrick banished it with the Snakes. It occurs all over Europe, through
Siberia, the Amoor, and the Himalayas to China; also on the further side
of the Mediterranean, in Morocco, and Algeria.


*Natterjack* (_Bufo calamita_, Laurent).

Although in general appearance the Natterjack may be said to resemble
the Common Toad, a close inspection reveals differences that at once
distinguish it as a separate species. It is smaller than the common
species and its legs are not only actually but also proportionately
shorter. But the narrow yellow line that runs along the centre of the
head and back is the most distinctive mark, and has suggested one of its
local names--Golden-back. Running Toad is the name by which it is known
in the Fens, and this is a good descriptive name, for owing to the
shortness of the hind limbs the Natterjack does not hop. It runs for
a short distance, then stops for a little, and runs on again.

The maximum length of head and body is three inches, and there is no
marked difference in size between the sexes; but the male develops
nuptial pads on his first three fingers, and he has a large internal
vocal sac whose use causes a great bulging of his bluish throat. The
skin, though warty, is smooth; its ground colour is pale yellowish-brown
tending to olive, with clouding and distant spots of a darker brown or
greenish hue. The underside is yellowish-white with black spots, and
the legs are barred with black. The prominent eyes are greenish-yellow,
and the long porous gland (parotid) behind the eye is smaller than in
the Common Toad.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 106._ _M 170._
    *Crested Newt, female*,
      climbing glass side of tank.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 107._ _M 171._
    *Crested Newt, male.*
      Molge cristata.]

The Natterjack breeds later than the common species, the pairing not
beginning before the end of April and being spread over May and June.
Like the Frog, it is careless regarding the permanent nature of its
spawning place. The locality chosen is advertised by the rattling noise
of the males, a loud trilling croak continued for a few seconds at a
time, and of sufficient power to be heard a mile away. The egg-strings
are short as compared with those of the Common Toad, being only five or
six feet in length. The blackish tadpoles are only an inch long when
fully grown; but they get through their development into tailless Toads
in less than six weeks, and are then less than half an inch long. In
another year they only measure three-quarters of an inch; and when they
become mature between the fourth and fifth years they are only between
an inch and a half and two inches long.

The Natterjack feeds on insects and worms, and though its activities are
mainly nocturnal, it may be seen running about in full sunshine. When
molested it spreads itself out flat on the ground and pretends to be
dead. The secretion from its glands when annoyed is said to smell "of
gunpowder or india-rubber."

It is plentiful in some English localities, but it appears to be
somewhat migratory, many places whence it may have been recorded last
year failing to yield a specimen to the careful searcher this year. Sir
Joseph Banks first called attention to it as a British species in the
account published in Pennant's "British Zoology" (1776). Part of his
note is worth quoting: "This species frequents dry and sandy places: it
is found on Putney Common, and also near Revesby Abbey, Lincolnshire,
where it is called the Natter Jack. It never leaps, neither does it
crawl with the slow pace of a Toad, but its motion is liker to running.
Several are found commonly together, and, like others of the genus, they
appear in the evenings."

In Scotland it is much more rare than in England; but in certain parts
of Ireland, as around Castlemaine and Valentia Harbours in Co. Kerry,
it is plentiful and known by the name of Natchet, which is probably an
Irish corruption of Natterjack. In his bright and entertaining "Seventy
Years of Irish Life," Mr. W. R. Le Fanu gives a native explanation of
their continued presence in Kerry, in spite of St. Patrick's activities:
"Notwithstanding all this, there still exists a species of Toad (the
Natchet, I think) in the barony of Iveragh, in the west of Kerry. I was
fishing in the Carah river the first time I saw them. I said to two
countrymen, who were standing by, 'How was it that these Toads escaped
Saint Patrick?' 'Well, now, yer honour,' said one of them, 'it's what
I'm tould that when Saint Patrick was down in these parts he went up the
Reeks, and when he seen what a wild and dissolute place Iveragh was, he
wouldn't go any further; and that's the rason them things does be here
still.' 'Well now, yer honour,' said the other fellow, 'I wouldn't
altogether give into that, for av coorse the saint was, many's the time,
in worse places than Iveragh. It's what I hear, yer honour, that it was
a lady that sent them from England in a letter fifty or sixty years
ago.'"

The Natterjack is found on the Continent from Denmark and Sweden to
Gibraltar.

As we have naturalised representatives of the Continental Frogs here,
so we have an isolated colony of the European Midwife Toad (_Alytes
obstetricans_), established many years ago in what was then a
nurseryman's garden at Bedford. The circumstances attending its
introduction are not known, but the colony still exists. The female
lays from twenty to fifty bright yellow eggs connected in a long string,
which the male entangles around his thighs and retires with them to his
hole until the embryos have reached the tadpole stage--a period of about
six weeks. At the proper time he seeks the water, when the tadpoles
escape from the eggs, and complete their development much after the
manner of Common Toad tadpoles.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 108A._ _M 172._
      Male in bridal attire.
    *Smooth Newt.*
      Molge vulgaris.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 108B._ _M 172._
      Male, underside.
    *Smooth Newt.*
      Molge vulgaris.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 109A._ _M 173._
      Example with additional right forelimb.
    *Smooth Newt.*]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 109B._ _M 173._
      Cast-off skin.
    *Smooth Newt.*]


*Crested Newt* (_Molge cristata_, Laurent).

The Newts, of which there are three British species, though agreeing
generally with the Frogs and Toads in their passage through an aquatic,
tadpole stage before attaining their mature form, differ in the fact
that they retain through life the compressed tail. In consequence
they constitute, with the Salamanders, the order Caudata or Tailed
Batrachians. As the structure, development and habits of the three
are much alike their story may be told here in general terms, before
proceeding to a description of the species separately.

The entire animal is enclosed in a soft skin which develops mucuous and
sensory apparatus, arranged principally along the sides and the base
of the tail. The two pairs of legs are almost of the same length, the
hinder pair being slightly the longer. The hands have four fingers and
the feet five toes as in the other batrachians. In general form they are
like Lizards, and Linnæus classified them as such and was followed by
the naturalists of the earlier part of the nineteenth century. During
the breeding season the skin of the males develops into a high crest or
fin along the middle of the back. There is a similar development above
and below the tail. These developments have a triple importance: they
are sexual adornments, swimming aids and sensory organs. Usually
terrestrial animals, the adults are impelled to seek the water at the
pairing season, and in many cases travel long distances in order to
reach the stagnant pools that are mostly favoured. There are minute
teeth along the jaws and on the palate; but they serve only to retain
their living food.

The skin serves the same office of respiration as we mentioned in the
case of the Frog, and like it they are compelled when on land to force
air into their lungs by a constant pumping and swallowing action of the
mouth and throat.

  [Illustration: *Skeleton of Newt.*]

The male seeks to excite the female by displaying his beautiful crest
and his heightened colours; also by rubbing her with his head and
lashing her with his tail. Then he emits spermatophores in the form of a
mushroom-shaped gelatinous mass whose head consists largely of sperms.
These sink to the bottom, whence the female takes them into her body.
The eggs are, in consequence, already fertilised when deposited. They
are laid singly against a long leaf of one of the pond-weeds--Anacharis,
Callitriche, Water-moss, etc.--which is folded over by the female and
adheres to the egg. They hatch in about a fortnight, the liberated larvæ
being more slender and fish-like than the tadpoles of the Frog. They
have three pairs of external gills, and soon after hatching they develop
two pairs of thread-like organs from the sides of the upper jaw, which
enable them to cling to water plants. The process of development is more
prolonged than in the Frogs and Toads, but it is mostly complete at the
end of summer before the hibernation begins. The little Newts then crawl
out of the water and seek shelter under stones in the immediate
neighbourhood of the pond.

The Crested Newt, Warty Newt or Great Newt, is our largest species,
attaining a maximum length of six inches, to which the tail contributes
two inches and a half. The skin in this species is thrown into little
warts, and on the upper parts is dark grey or blackish-brown. Along the
lower part of the sides there is a liberal sprinkling of white dots, and
the underside is coloured yellow or orange, boldly spotted or blotched
with black. There is a strong collar-like fold at the base of the
throat. The male's nuptial crest starts from the head as a low frill,
but between the shoulders and the thighs becomes high with its edge
deeply notched, the resulting "teeth" waving freely in the water. Behind
the thighs there is a gap, and then the crest rises again as a tail fin,
the lower edge of the tail having a similar extension. Along the sides
of the tail proper runs a bluish-white, silvery-looking stripe. The eye
has a golden yellow iris.

The female, who exceeds the male in size, is coloured similarly, but
the lower edge of her tail is yellow or orange. Above the spine runs
a depressed line, which is coloured yellow in the breeding season,
which begins in April. The newly hatched, semi-transparent larvæ are
yellowish-green with two black stripes along the back, which, later,
when the ground colour changes to a light olive, become broken up into
spots, and the flanks and underside become tinged with gold. They have
a finer equipment of branchial plumes than the Frog tadpoles, and their
form is more graceful and not "big headed." Some individuals do not
complete their development before winter, and remain in the pond until
the spring. They may be frozen in solid ice, but they thaw out none the
worse for their cold storage. Their food consists of any small aquatic
life such as insects, worms, crustaceans, and weaker individuals of
their own kind; later, on land they feed upon worms and insects.

The adults, if they did not leave the water immediately after the
conclusion of family affairs, seek dry land in the autumn, and assemble
in numbers in some comfortable damp hole, where they twist and
intertwine into a ball, apparently to prevent loss of moisture. In
this way they pass the winter in a more or less torpid condition.

The skin is shed much after the manner of the Snake, separation
beginning at the lips, and by the help of the hands and bodily
wrigglings worked off the tail. These sloughs may be found floating
entire in the water looking like Newt-ghosts; but on land they may be
got rid of piecemeal, the old skin being sometimes swallowed as in the
case of the Toad.

The Crested Newt is widely distributed over England, but is less
plentiful in the west: in Devon it is a scarce species and locally
restricted, and in Cornwall it does not occur. Much the same applies
to Scotland, where it is found as far north as Perthshire, but not
at all in the west. It is absent entirely from Ireland; but generally
distributed on the Continent.


*Smooth Newt* (_Molge vulgaris_, Linn.).

The Smooth Newt, Common Newt, Spotted Newt, Eft or Evat is the best
known of the trio, but is most plentiful in the eastern half of the
Kingdom. It is very much smaller than the Crested Newt, its maximum
length being four inches. It varies in colour, but the prevailing tint
is olive-brown with darker spots over the upper side, and dark streaks
on the head. The underside is orange or vermilion with round black
spots, the colours becoming more intense in the breeding season; the
throat white or yellow, mostly dotted with black. The underside of
the female is, as a rule, much paler than that of the male, and often
unspotted. At the mating period the male develops a continuous crest,
running from the top of the head to the end of the tail, and the lower
edge of the tail has a spotted pale blue band with black base. The
upper edge of the crest is festooned instead of being serrated. The eye
has a golden iris. The female has shorter fingers and toes than the
male.

  [Illustration: _Pl. 110._ _M 176._
    *Palmate Newt, male.*
      Molge palmata.]

  [Illustration: _Pl. 111._ _N 177._
    *Palmate Newt, female.*
      The distinctive webbing is well shown in the hind feet.]

The breeding history of the Smooth Newt follows much on the same lines
as that of the Crested Newt. The larva is spotted with yellow along the
sides and tail, which ends in a thread-like prolongation of its tip.

Immediately after the breeding season the adults leave the water, and
seek their food among the vegetation of the land. They become duller in
colour, and the skin becomes more opaque with a fine velvety surface.
They are then the Dry Evats of country folk. When aquarium-keeping was a
fashionable drawing-room hobby in mid-Victorian days the Smooth Newt was
an annoying pet, owing to its objection to remaining in the water after
the breeding season had passed, and being so frequently found in a dry
and shrivelled condition in obscure corners of the room.

In parts of Ireland it is the Man-eater or Man-keeper (as well as Dry
Ask and Dark Lewker) owing to a superstitious belief that it enters the
mouths of sleepers, and thereafter robs them of all nutriment of which
they may partake.


*Palmate Newt* (_Molge palmata_, Dum. and Bibr.).

In general appearance the Palmate Newt is similar to the Smooth Newt,
and is as smooth as that species. There is no doubt that it is commonly
mistaken, for it, for a few years ago it was considered rare, but closer
examination shows that whilst it is local in the south-east of England,
it is more plentiful than the Smooth Newt in the west.

It is a smaller animal than the Smooth Newt, its length being three
inches only. In the breeding season its distinctness is evident, for
the male has then a nearly four-sided body owing to the development of
a fold of skin along each side of the back. The crest, instead of being
high in front and having an undulating edge, rises gradually from the
head, is of less height and has an entire margin. The tail appears as
though the tip had been cut off and the attempt to renew it had got
only as far as the development of a short thread from the centre of
the cut portion. But what gives the species its name is a black web
which connects the toes. The tail develops a fin along its lower edge
in both sexes, and this in the male is edged with blue and in the female
with orange. Another point of distinction lies in the colour of the
throat. Instead of the black-dotted white or yellow of the Smooth Newt,
the throat of the Palmate Newt is flesh coloured without dots.

Above, the colour is olive-brown with darker spots; below, the centre is
orange bordered by pale yellow, with or without black spots.

After the breeding season, when the adults leave the water, the webbing
of the feet--being no longer useful--becomes reduced to a margin along
each toe and no longer constituting a palm; but the truncated tail
remains as a specific distinction, though the thread-like prolongation
becomes very short in the female.



  CLASSIFIED INDEX

  TO ORDERS, GENERA, AND SPECIES DESCRIBED IN THIS WORK.


  *Mammalia.*


  _Order Insectivora._

  Talpa europæa, Linn., 13

  Sorex araneus, Linn., 21
    "   granti, 25
    "   minutus, Linn., 25

  Neomys fodiens, Schreber, 27

  Erinaceus europæus, Linn., 9


  _Order Chiroptera._

  Rhinolophus ferrum-equinum, Schreber, 34
      "       hipposideros, Bechstein, 36

  Myotis bechsteinii, Kuhl, 40
    "    daubentonii, Kuhl, 41
    "    mystacinus, Kuhl, 37
    "    nattereri, Kuhl, 39

  Vespertilio murinus, Linn., 45
      "       pipistrellus, Schreber, 43
      "       serotinus, Schreber, 44

  Nyctalus leisleri, Kuhl, 48
     "     noctula, Schreber, 46

  Plecotus auritus, Linn., 49

  Barbastella barbastellus, Schreber, 51


  _Order Carnivora._

  Vulpes canis, Linn., 52

  Meles taxus, Boddaert, 55

  Lutra vulgaris, Erxleben, 59

  Mustela erminea, Linn., 66
     "    hibernicus, Thomas, 69
     "    martes, Linn., 63
     "    nivalis, Linn., 69
     "    putorius, Linn., 73

  Felis silvestris, Schreber, 75


  _Order Rodentia._

  Oryctolagus cuniculus, Linn., 113

  Lepus europæus, Pallas, 117
    "   hibernicus, Bell, 123
    "   timidus, Linn., 121

  Muscardinus avellanarius, Linn., 82

  Evotomys alstoni, Barrett-Hamilton, 112
     "     erica, Barrett-Hamilton, 113
     "     glareolus, Schreber, 110
     "     skomeriensis, Barrett-Hamilton, 112

  Microtus agrestis, Linn., 105
     "     orcadensis, Millais, 109

  Arvicola amphibius, Linn., 102

  Apodemus flavicollis, Melchior, 91
     "     fridariensis, Kinnear, 92
     "     hebridensis, de Winton, 92
     "     sylvaticus, Linn., 89

  Micromys minutus, Pallas, 86

  Epimys norvegicus, Erxleben, 97
    "    rattus, Linn., 95

  Mus muralis, Barrett-Hamilton, 94
   "  musculus, Linn., 92

  Sciurus vulgaris, Linn., 78
  [  "    cinereus, Linn., 81]

  [Tamias striatus, Linn., 82]


  _Order Ungulata._

  Cervus dama, Linn., 130
    "    elaphus, Linn., 124

  Capreolus capraea, Gray, 133


  *Reptilia.*


  _Order Lacertilia._

  Lacerta agilis, Linn., 140
     "    vivipara, Wagl., 136
  [  "    muralis, Merr., 142]
  [  "    viridis, Linn., 142]

  Anguis fragilis, Linn., 142


  _Order Ophidia._

  Tropidonotus natrix, Linn., 146

  Coronella austriaca, Lacepede, 152

  Vipera berus, Linn., 154


  *Batrachia.*


  _Order Ecaudata._

  Rana temporaria, Linn., 157
  [ "  esculenta, Linn., 162]

  [Hyla arborea, Linn., 165]

  Bufo calamita, Laurent, 170
   "   vulgaris, Laurent, 165

  [Alytes obstetricans, Laurent, 172]


  _Order Caudata._

  Molge cristata, Linn., 173
    "   palmata, Dum. and Bibr., 177
    "   vulgaris, Linn., 176



  INDEX


  Adder, 154, Plates 92A, 92B, 94, 96

  Alexandrine Rat, 97, Pl. 61

  Alpine Hare, 121, Pl. 79

  _Alytes obstetricans_, 172

  _Anguis fragilis_, 142

  _Apodemus butei_, 92;
    _A. flavicollis_, 91;
    _A. fridariensis_, 92;
    _A. hebridensis_, 92;
    _A. hirtensis_, 92;
    _A. sylvaticus_, 89

  "Art of Learning," 2

  _Arvicola amphibia_, 102

  Ask, 177


  Badger, 55, Pl. 37

  Bank Vole, 110, Pl. 71

  _Barbastella barbastellus_, 51

  Barbastelle, 51, Pl. 33A, 33B

  Barn Rat, 100

  Bat, Barbastelle, 51;
    " Bechstein's B., 40;
    " Common B., 43;
    " Daubenton's B., 41;
    " Great B., 46;
    " Horse-shoe B., 34;
    " Leisler's B., 48;
    " Long-eared B., 49;
    " Natterer's B., 39;
    " Noctule B., 46;
    " Parti-coloured B., 45;
    " Red-grey B., 39;
    " Whiskered B., 37

  Bechstein's Bat, 40

  Blind-worm, 142

  Bony structure of Vertebrates, 4

  British Rat, 95, Pl. 62

  Brown Hare, 117, Pls. 75, 77;
    B. Rat, 97, Pls. 63, 64

  _Bufo calamita_, 170;
    _B. vulgaris_, 165

  Bush Rabbit, 116

  Bute Field Mouse, 92


  _Capreolus caprea_, 133

  Carnivora, 52

  Cat, Wild, 72, Pl. 46

  Catamount, 77

  Cat-a-mountain, 77

  _Cervus dama_, 130;
    _C. elaphus_, 124

  Chipmunk, 82

  Chipping Squirrel, 82

  _Coronella austriaca_, 152

  Crested Newt, 173, Pls. 106, 107


  Dark Lewker, 177

  Daubenton's Bat, 41, Pl. 21

  Deaf-Adder, 142

  Deer, Fallow, 130;
    " Red D., 124;
    " Roe D., 133

  Dental Formula, 6

  Dog-mouse, 105

  Dormouse, 82, Pls. 52, 55

  Dry Ask, 177


  Eft, 175

  _Epimys hibernicus_, 99;
    _E. norvegicus_, 97;
    _E. rattus_, 95

  _Erinaceus europæus_, 9

  Erinacidæ, 13

  Ermine, 66, Pl. 41

  Evat, 177;
    " Furze Evvet, 139

  _Evotomys alstoni_, 112;
    _E. erica_, 113;
    _E. glareolus_, 110;
    _E. skomeriensis_, 112


  Fair Isle field mouse, 92

  Fallow Deer, 130, Pls. 78, 82

  Fawn, 132

  _Felis silvestris_, 75

  Ferret, 75

  Field Mouse, Bute, 92;
    " Fair Isle F.M., 92;
    " Hebridean F.M., 92;
    " Long-tailed F.M., 91;
    " St. Kilda F.M., 92;
    " Short-tailed F.M., 105, Pls. 67, 69

  Fitchew, 73

  Flesh-eating Mammals, 52

  Foulmart or Foumart, 73

  Fox, 52, Pls. 34, 35

  Frog, Common, 157;
    " Edible F., 162;
    " Tree F., 165, Pls. 97-101

  Furze Evvet, 139


  Gnawing Mammals, 78

  Golden Back, 170

  Grass Mouse, 108
    " Snake, 146, Pls. 91A, 91B, 91C, 92A, 92B, 93

  Great Bat, 46, Pls. 13, 26, 29
    " Newt, 173

  Green Lizard, 142


  Hair, characteristic of Mammals alone, 7

  Hairless Mouse, 94;
    H. Rat, 100

  Hare, Alpine, 121;
    " Brown H., 117;
    " Irish H., 123

  Harvest Mouse, 86, Pls. 54A, 54B, 56

  Hebridean Field Mouse, 92;
    H. Vole, 109

  Hedgehog, 9, Pls. 1-4

  Hind, 124

  Hoofed Mammals, 124

  Horse-shoe Bat, Larger, 34, Pls. 14, 15;
    " Lesser H.B., 36, Pl. 17

  House Mouse, 92, Pls. 58, 60

  Huxley on Natural History Knowledge, 2

  _Hyla arborea_, 165


  Insectivora, 9

  Irish Hare, 123;
    I. Rat, 99

  Islay Shrew, 25


  _Lacerta agilis_, 140;
    _L. muralis_, 142;
    _L. viridis_, 142;
    _L. vivipara_, 136

  Leisler's Bat, 48, Pls. 28, 30

  _Lepus europæus_, 117;
    _L. hibernicus_, 123;
    _L. timidus_, 121

  Lesser Shrew, 25

  Lizard, Common, 136, Pls. 84, 85, 87;
    Green L., 142;
    Sand L., 140;
    Wall L., 142

  Long-eared Bat, 49, Pls. 31, 32

  Long-tailed Field Mouse, 89

  _Lutra vulgaris_, 59


  Mammals, 4, 9

  Man-eater, 177

  Man-keeper, 177

  Marten, 63

  _Meles taxus_, 55

  _Micromys minutus_, 86

  _Microtus agrestis_, 105;
    _M. orcadensis_, 109

  Midwife Toad, 172

  Mole, 13, Pls. 5-7

  Mole-heaves, 16

  Mole's "fortress," 16

  _Molge cristata_, 173;
    _M. palmata_, 177;
    _M. punctata_, 176

  Mouse, Dog, 105;
    " Dor M., 82;
    " Field M., 91;
    " Grass M., 108;
    " Hairless M., 94;
    " Harvest M., 86;
    " House M., 92;
    " Marsh M., 105;
    " Wood M., 89

  _Mus muralis_, 92;
    _M. musculus_, 92

  _Muscardinus avellanarius_, 82

  _Mustela erminea_, 66;
    _M. eversmanni_, 75;
    _M. hibernicus_, 69;
    _M. martes_, 63;
    _M. nivalis_, 69;
    _M. putorius_, 73

  _Myotis bechsteini_, 40;
    _M. daubentonii_, 41;
    _M. mystacinus_, 37;
    _M. nattereri_, 39


  Natchet, 172

  Natterjack, 170, Pls. 104, 105

  _Neomys fodiens_, 27

  Newt, Common, 176;
    " Crested N., 173;
    " Great N., 173;
    " Palmate N., 177;
    " Spotted N., 176;
    " Warty N., 173, Pls. 106-111

  Noctule, 46

  _Nyctalus leisleri_, 48;
    _N. noctula_, 46


  Observation, 1

  Orkney Vole, 109, Pl. 70

  _Oryctolagus cunicularis_, 113

  Otter, 59, Pls. 38, 39


  Palmate Newt, 177, Pls. 110, 111

  Parti-coloured Bat, 45

  Pine Marten, 63, Pl. 40

  Pipistrelle, 43, Pls. 23, 25

  _Plecotus auritus_, 49

  Polecat, 73, Pls. 45, 48


  Raasay Vole, 113

  Rabbit, Bush, 116;
    " Common R., 113, Pl. 73;
    " Stub R., 116

  _Rana esculenta_, 162;
    _R. temporaria_, 157

  Rat, Alexandrine, 97;
    " Barn R., 100;
    " Black R., 95;
    " British R., 95;
    " Brown R., 97;
    " Hairless R., 100;
    " Hanoverian R., 95;
    " Irish R., 99;
    " Roof R., 97;
    " Tree R., 97;
    " Water R., 102;
    " White R., 101

  Red Deer, 124, Pls. 76, 80

  Red-grey Bat, 39, Pls. 19, 20

  _Rhinolophus ferrum-equinum_, 34;
    _R. hipposideros_, 36

  Ringed Snake, 146, Pls. 91A, 91B, 91C, 92A, 92B, 93

  Rodentia, 78

  Roe Deer, 133, Pls. 81, 83

  Running Toad, 170


  St. Kilda Field Mouse, 92

  Sand Lizard, 140, Pls. 86, 88

  _Sciurus cinereus_, 81;
    _S. vulgaris_, 78

  Serotine Bat, 44, Pls. 24, 27

  Short-tailed Field Mouse, 105

  Shrew, Common, 21, Pls. 9, 11;
    " Islay S., 25;
    " Lesser S., 25, Pl. 12;
    " Water S., 27, Pl. 10

  Slow-worm, 142, Pls. 89, 90

  Smooth Newt, 176;
    S. Snake, 152, Pl. 95

  Snake, Common, 146;
    " Grass S., 146;
    " Ringed S., 146;
    " Smooth S., 152

  _Sorex araneus_, 21;
    _S. granti_, 25;
    _S. minutus_, 25

  Soricidæ, 13

  Spotted Newt, 176

  Squirrel, Chipping, 82;
    " Common S., 78;
    " Grey S., 81, Pls. 49, 51, 53

  Stag, 124

  Stoat, 66, Pls. 41, 42

  Stub Rabbit, 116

  Sweet Marten, 63


  Tadpoles, 160

  _Talpa europæa_, 13

  Talpidæ, 13

  _Tamias striatus_, 82

  Teeth, 5

  Theromorpha, 3

  Toad, Common, 165, Pls. 102A, 102B, 103, 105;
    " Midwife T., 172;
    " Natterjack T., 170;
    " Running T., 170, Pls. 104, 105

  Tree Frog, 165

  _Tropidonotus natrix_, 146


  Ungulata, 124


  Vertebral Column, Regions of, 4

  Vertebrates, 3

  _Vespertilio murinus_, 45;
    _V. pipistrellus_, 43;
    _V. serotinus_, 44

  Viper, 154, Pls. 92A, 92B, 94, 96

  _Vipera berus_, 154

  Vole, Alston's, 112;
    " Bank V., 110;
    " Eigg V., 109;
    " Field V., 105;
    " Hebridean V., 108;
    " Macgillivray's V., 109;
    " Orkney V., 108;
    " Raasay V., 113;
    " Sanday V., 108;
    " Skomer V., 112;
    " Water Vole, 102;
    " Westray V., 108

  _Vulpes canis_, 52


  Water Rat, 102;
    W. Vole, 102, Pls. 65, 66

  Weasel, 69, Pls. 43, 47

  Whiskered Bat, 37, Pls. 16, 18

  Wild Cat, 75, Pl. 46

  Wild Life, How to observe, 2

  Wood Mouse, 89, Pl. 59


  Yellow-necked Mouse, 91





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can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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