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We have known for 10 years that Muntjac Deer frequent the plot. They did a lot of damage to saplings early on before the whole plot became a sea of plastic protectors.
In April 2001 this one suddenly appeared on the back garden lawn for a drink at our smallest pond.
This fully gown Muntjac is about the size of a Spaniel.
Muntjac originated in SE Asia, were imported into a country estate, and then, as usual, escaped and became a pest, albeit an attractive one. They are solitary animals, not forming herds, thank heavens.
In Late in January 2004 a Muntjac woke us up calling every few seconds. The next night our automatic night camera took this image of a Doe and Fawn (which we understand is probably 2 or 3 weeks old)
By April 2005 the
Muntjac are occassional visitors during the winter and
spring, and can be seen in daylight. This mother and
fawn were on the back
lawn one morning in April 2005 after a fleeting glimpse
a few days
earlier. Interestingly this image is 3 months later in
the year compared to
the night image although the fawns are of obviously
similar age. Muntjac do not have a rutting season and
can breed at any time of year.
The most prolific mammal we
see is undoubtedly the rabbit.
Rabbits are not native to England, probably having been introduced by the Normans as a food source. Some references state that the Romans introduced them, but it is the Normans that gave them their common name.
In Spring 2005 we found a newspaper report that reads:-
Rabbits make most of the trodden down paths on both mowed and rough grass - they have a habit of treading on the same spots making a characteristic 'dotted' trail.
Rabbits are a pest in this area, generally shot by our neighbours, or in one case shot and/or gassed. One of our neighbours have a local chef and his dog come and shoot them for the table. As vegans we have mixed feelings about all this.
Rabbits and muntjac deer did a lot of damage to our early plantings until we provided protection for the plants. Long grass seems to stop them encroaching. We are not all that sorry that the foxes here include rabbits in their menu - evidenced by the left overs we find on the paths and once in the toolshed (ugh!).