More about Mammals in Mid Wales
Mammals are far more difficult to see than birds either because of their nocturnal lifestyles or because they have a history of being persecuted by man and remain far more wary of being seen. Good examples being the variety of Bat species that occur, usually only seen flitting around at nightfall and the Fox, still hunted by man.
Species that can be easily observed coming to food put out for birds are the Wood Mouse and the similar but slightly larger Yellow Necked Mouse - both with long tails, big eyes and pale under parts, and the Bank Vole - with a very short tail, little eyes and a reddish brown colour.
Grey Squirrels are common everywhere to the extent of being considered a nuisance by some.
Signs of Field Vole can sometimes be found amongst clumps of rushy vegetation – little piles of their droppings and pieces of nibbled rush stems. Water vole leave similar signs but they are much bigger and much less common mammals which have suffered due to predation by the introduced Mink. Fortunately there are not many Mink seen in our area.
Common Shrew, Pigmy Shrew and Water Shrew all occur in midWales. Sometimes when walking in areas of rough grassland in summer you can hear the high pitched squeals of Common Shrews fighting.
The tiny Harvest Mouse and the Dormouse only occur further south in the lower Wye Valley where the climate is kinder and the habitats more suited to their needs – Harvest Mice being associated with mixed arable farming and Dormice that need woodlands with plenty of ground cover and bush layer, especially including honeysuckle.
The Mole is another mammal that is rarely seen, although evidence of its burrowing in the form of moles hills dotted across fields is a common sight.
More easily seen are Rabbit and sightings of Brown Hare are not uncommon. Otter are becoming more frequent and it is always worth keeping a watchful eye out for them along the River Wye and around Llandrindod Lake.
Less easily seen are Stoat, Weasel and Polecat that all inhabit Mid Wales and we are now just beginning to get one or two records of Roe Deer and Muntjac Deer coming into this part of the country.
Of the mammals that live in and around our houses and gardens the small grey coloured House Mouse is rarely recorded and most commonly seen around buildings is the Brown Rat. Hedgehogs too are most often seen around towns and villages as in the wider countryside their numbers tend to be controlled through predation by Badgers which occur in healthy populations in the woodlands and farmland of Mid Wales.
Polecats are often seen in the Teme valley, and there have been sightings of the rarer Pine Marten in Mid Wales. Please report sightings of either to the Vincent Wildlife Trust.