It’s the Spring Equinox! As the days become longer and we mark the beginning of spring, it’s a good time to look at some of the other fellow mammals that we, the Homo Sapiens, share the campus with.
Over the last year the University’s Environment Team has been conducting surveys to establish what wildlife species have habitats on University grounds, and then decide on the best ways of making it more wildlife-friendly. Here is a brief overview of the furry (and spiky) creatures they found living on campus.
If you come to West Downs campus or the Dytche after dark, listen out for the pitter-patter of the tiny hedgehog feet. The spiky balls of cuteness can now travel more easily between their many favourite spots, thanks to he Hedgehog Highways installed by the University of Winchester Environment Team. Watch out for them as they are waking up from winter hibernation.
If you want to learn more about hedgehogs and what we can do to help them, read here.
Out of the 17 species of bats native to the UK, four have been spotted on campus: the common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle, noctule and serotine. Like hedgehogs, they are just coming out of hibernation, going out on their nocturnal bug-hunts. Unlike some tropical bat species, UK bats do not attack humans or suck their blood – instead, they feed on insects, including mosquitoes and midges!
More information about bats can be found here.
3. Bank voles
Very similar to mice, bank voles eat fruit, nuts and small insects. Keen to find out more about those cuties? Have a read here.
4. Wood mouse
This fairly common species of mice can be found throughout Hampshire, and our campus is no exception. Like squirrels, they store their winter food supplies in underground burrows, or are known to sometimes use abandoned birds’ nests! Read more about them here.
5. Visiting roe deer
Yes, we do have visiting deer on campus! They have been spotted several times around Alwyn Hall, so keep your eyes peeled next time you’re in that area. (Photo courtesy of Marjorie Hide).
6. Casper the Campus Cat
Last but not least, we have a resident cat! His name is Casper and he lives in one of the houses across the road. However, he seems to be spending most of his days hanging around campus. You are most likely to find him in the KKB café, where he is making friends with students and staff. He took quite a liking to our colleague Philip, who took this artistic photo of him.
So that’s it, a short and by no mean exhaustive, list of animals you might spot on campus. Next time you take a break from studying, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife encounters!