Water voles are Britain’s fastest declining mammal but we are lucky enough to have a population on the Letcombe Brook right in the middle of Wantage!
Many mammal species suffer from habitat loss and fragmentation, but we can help them by creating good feeding habitat or places for them to shelter and breed. Here are some things you can do to help:
(For hedgehogs, please refer to our Taking Action for Hedgehogs guidance note).
Help bats by:
- Putting up a bat box on your home or a suitable garden tree.
- Making room for some plants that attract night-time pollinators that bats will feed on.
- Allowing bats to live in your roof-space if you are lucky enough to have a colony.
- Keep your cats in at night – many bat casualties are caused by domestic cats. They have relatively few natural predators.
- Making bat boxes that we can put up on other green space/buildings.
- If you find an injured bat contact your local bat carer via the National Bat Helpline 0345 1300 228.
- Great guidance on all these measures here https://www.bats.org.uk/advice.
How you can help water voles
- Help Letcombe Brook Project create and manage good habitat along the Letcombe Brook.
- If you are lucky enough to have riverbank on your property do not “garden” all the way to the waters edge. Leave some natural habitat and natural banks as this is where voles make their burrows and feed.
- Keep your dogs out of the river – they can kill or chase water voles which will vacate a territory when they’re disturbed too often. Many populations have been lost in this manner.
- More interesting info here https://ptes.org/campaigns/water-voles/.
You can help hares by:
- Advice for farmers here http://hare-preservation-trust.com/helping-hares/farmer-help/
We have many more species of mammal living in and around Wantage than those mentioned above, but we do not at present have specific projects to help them. General wildlife gardening and conservation farming practices help most species. One other thing that can really help is to report your mammal sightings to national recording schemes so that we have a better understanding of how populations are faring. Many species are very under-reported.
- Use the iRecord App on your mobile phone; it’s very easy to use.
- If you don’t have a smartphone, report sightings via Oxon Mammal Group.
- Report any sightings of otter or water vole to the Letcombe Brook Project.