Page:VCH Warwickshire 1.djvu/246

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MAMMALS As in the case of the birds, the physical features of a county deter- mine to a great extent the number and distribution of its mammals. For the continued presence of the larger mammals there must be quiet retreats in plenty such as a forest or moorland offers ; there must be also the attractions of the pasture-land and the lake. These features in Warwickshire, with its broad cultivated lands, are not sufficiently well marked, and the badger, of the larger mammals, finds it difficult to exist, if it has not already disappeared from our borders. The otter, however, though by no means common, still clings to the Avon, and it is a pleasure to report that it has even become rather more frequent between Evesham and Stratford since the navigation between these places has ceased. Brought into our county from the warehouses of Gloucester and Bristol on board the grain laden vessels which came up the Avon, the old English black rat was reintroduced about forty or fifty years ago, but has again become rare, perhaps extinct. In the distribution of the smaller mammals the Avon also has considerable influence. The meadows about its banks are the haunts of such species as the water shrew and the field and bank voles, and the water vole abounds in the river itself. Of the Cervidcz, or deer, little need be said, as the natural characteristics of the county in no way affect their existence, for they continue under protection only in the parks where they have been introduced and beyond their mere mention need claim no more of our attention than the cattle in the pastures. A great many years spent amongst the vertebrates of the valley of the Avon more or less in connection with the Warwickshire Naturalists' Field Club, and a long connection also with the museum in the county town, has made the writer acquainted with a great number of the species, and enabled him to contribute in no inconsiderable degree to the second edition of Bell's British Quadrupeds. With the species in the north end of the county he is much less intimately acquainted, but the deficiency of information is fortunately made up by other observers who have made public the results of their observations. The following may be specially mentioned as supplying valuable information : A Handbook of Birmingham., prepared for the members of the British Association in 1886. The parts relating to the mammals and reptiles around Birmingham was written by Mr. E. de Hamel, what relates to the birds was supplied by Mr. R. W. Chase, while the account of the fishes was the work of Mr. G. Sherriff Tye. The whole was under the editorship of Mr. W. R. Hughes, F.L.S., and took in an area of twenty 208