By: Derrick Knowlton
Mammals form one of the most attractive branches of native wild life in British Isles, including such well-known animals as hedgehogs, several species of deer, otters, badgers, voles, bats and seals. Mammals watching, however, is a challenging pastime, demanding considerable patience and understanding, even ingenuity and cunning.
This book introduces the reader to such important aspects of the subject as means of identification in the field; the parts of the country where particular animals are to be found and the type of terrain they prefer; feeding and breeding behaviour; how to observe them, and the specialised equipment available for observation. Full attention is given to the problems of photography and sound recording.
The native species of mammals have developed mostly in an island habitat, but usually bear a strong relationship to mainland species. The principal orders and subspecies are carefully described by the author; also the main divisions such as those between vegetarians and carnivores. Behavioural patterns, including those of the young, are described separately. The heart of the book is the section on observation. There are so many signs to look out for - tracks, scents, droppings, food remains, damage to vegetation, holes and burrows - that once the reader has discovered what to search for he or she should have no difficulty in becoming an experienced mammal watcher. It is an absorbing hobby and, as underlined in the last chapter, the knowledge gained can be of real value to mankind and the conversation of wildlife.
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