Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/265

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MAMMALS Mr. Salvin of Guildford tamed, trained and bred them in captivity with great success. Owing to constant trapping and thoughtless destruction of this animal whenever possible the otter is in Surrey becoming much rarer than in former years. RODENTIA 23. Squirrel. Sciurus leucourus, Kerr. Bell Sciurus vulgaris. Still quite common in the country and occasionally found within the suburban area. 24. Dormouse. Muscardinus avellanarius, Linn. Bell Myoxia avellanarius. Fairly common but rather local in its dis- tribution. 25. Brown Rat. Mus decumanus, Pallas. Abundant. Albinos, truly wild and not merely escaped white rats, have been met with ; we have also a note of black speci- mens taken at Epsom and Mitcham, a variety which is very well recognized and sometimes has occurred in some numbers in other parts of England. 26. Black Rat. Mus rattus, Linn. We can find no recorded instances of this species in Surrey. There is however no doubt that at one time it was quite abundant. It probably lingers still round the wharves of the Surrey side of the Thames. 27. House Mouse. Mus musculus, Linn. Abundant. 28. Wood Mouse or Long -tailed Field Mouse. Mus sylvaticus, Linn. Abundant and sometimes quite a nuisance in gardens, where it gnaws and eats almost anything. 29. Harvest Mouse. Mus minutus, Pallas. Fairly common in most places. Mr. Reeves had a very curiously spotted speci- men from Reigate in 1880. 30. Water Vole. Microtus amphibius. Linn. Bell Arv'tcola amphibius. Common in all suitable localities. Melanic varieties have been taken locally. 31. Field Vole. Microtus agrestis, Linn. Bell Arv'tcola agrettii. Though subject to much, apparently capri- cious, variation in its numbers the field vole is as a rule common enough in all parts of the county. In some seasons it has been known to become so numerous as to cause serious damage to crops and grass. Mr. Reeves of Reigate has had several white specimens sent to him from that neighbour- hood for preservation and pied varieties have been also taken in the county. 32. Bank Vole. Evotomys glareo/us, Schreber. Bell Arv'tcola glareolui. Curiously enough when in 1887 Mr. J. E. Harting published in the Zoologist his paper on the distribution of this species in Great Britain no record existed of its occurrence in Surrey. That this was, as doubtless in the case of other small mammals, due merely to lack of observation seems now quite clear, for shortly after this publication a lengthy note on its common appearance near Westcott and Godalming appeared in the same periodical (Zoologist, 1888, p. 298), in which places the writer had known of its existence for some years prior to the date of writing. Since that time the British Museum has received speci- mens from various localities in the county, such as Betchworth and Bletchingley (Ogilvie- Grant, 1895), Elstead (Blandford, 1894) and Milford (Col. Healey, 1894). In that year the species seems to have been very abundant in the Godalming district, and it is a well- known fact that this vole, like the former species, is subject to periodical variation in its numbers, due probably to migration forced upon it by local failure of its usual sources of food. Mr. Larken informs us he has taken it at Gatton (in lit.), and Mr. H. Sawyer states that it is found in Richmond Park (in lit.). It is also found at Headley and without doubt is locally plentiful throughout the county. 33. Common Hare. Lepus europaius, Pallas. Bell Lefus timidus. In places where it is well preserved the hare is very abundant over I oo were bagged in one day's shoot in the autumn of 1900 on one farm at Nork near Epsom but in many districts it is not as a rule very common. Its numbers and its presence in suitable localities depend almost entirely on the protection afforded to it. 34. Rabbit. Lepus cunicu/us, Linn. Abundant. Melanic wild varieties are not uncommon. 223