Most of the species generally found in lowland Britain are present in the valley, with the notable exception of brown hare and otter. As otters have been regularly recorded recently in all three adjacent counties, we can confidently look forward to their return to Sussex before long. When they do so, there are perfect conditions for them in the Brede Valley. They should be able to compete successfully with the feral mink which have recently been preying on many other species in the valley, especially the formerly common water vole. To find out more about this endangered species, click on Water Voles.

Other common predatory mammals include stoats, weasels, and foxes, which all prey on the currently abundant rabbit population, without seeming to reduce its overall numbers significantly. Myxomatosis kills a few, but many rabbits seem to have developed resistance to this disease.

The large population of badgers may catch a few young rabbits too, but relies far more on the earthworms which proliferate in the valley’s humus-rich soils. Some of their outlying setts can be seen all over the valley, even on river banks, but their huge ancient permanent setts are mostly to be found in woodlands.

Other woodland species include a large population of grey squirrels, hedgehogs, shrews and most of the commoner small rodents. Recently there have also been increasing numbers of wild boar, which create tunnel-trails through the densest thickets and rootle around among the ground flora in search of bluebell bulbs and other items of food.

Finally, although some insects are now less numerous than they were, several species of insectivorous bats can still be seen on the wing during the warmer evenings of the year. Among those which have been recorded in recent years are barbastelle, common and Nathusius’ pipistrelles, and Daubenton’s, serotine and brown long-eared bats.

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