Mammals

Hedgehog. Photo: IBC

Hedgehog. Photo: IBC

There are at least 15 different species of mammal living in Holywells Park (see full list below)*.

Bats

Bats comprise about 20% of all classified mammal species worldwide and almost a quarter of UK mammals. There are approximately 17 species known to be breeding in the UK but their populations have suffered severe decline in the last century. In Holywells Park there are known to be 4 species – Noctule, Pipistrelle, Brown Long-eared Bat and Serotine Bat. They mostly feed on insects around the ponds and are actually useful pest controllers keeping down the numbers of mosquitoes and other bugs in the park. There are regular organised bat walks in the park – keep your eye on the events page for more details.
You can find out more about bats at the Bat Conservation Trust

Water Vole

Another rare mammal in the park is the water vole which in the UK is under serious threat from habitat loss and predators. The water vole (sometimes known as the water rat or water dog) looks similar to the brown rat, but with a blunt nose, small ears and furry tail. They can sometimes be seen near the edge of the stream and some of the ponds, often nibbling grass and stems. Find out more about water voles at the People’s Trust for Endangered Species.

Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are another mammal that is sadly in long term decline – numbers in the UK are said to have halved since 2000! Ipswich has been hailed as a “Hedgehog Hotspot” (see Ipswich Star article here) and even has its own ‘hedgehog officer’. The hedgehog population in Holywells Park is mostly endangered by the busy roads that surround the park – they will often walk a mile or more at night looking for food such as beetles, slugs, earthworms and caterpillars and this is when they are most at risk. See British Hedgehog Preservation Society

Ranger Joe Underwood,
“We are doing lots of habitat management work in our parks and open spaces to help hedgehogs and have created lots of areas of long grass to provide the diverse range of invertebrates that hedgehogs require to eat. We also pile up cut grass under hedges to provide areas for hedgehogs to nest and breed in and build lots of hedgehog houses at events we run in our parks”

List of Holywells Park Mammals

Stoat (Mustela erminea)
West European Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) 
Common Shrew (Sorex araneus)
Eurasian Pygmy Shrew (Sorex minutus)
Chinese Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi)
Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
Bank Vole (Myodes glareolus)
Water Vole (Arvicola amphibius)
Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus)
Wood Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus)
Harvest Mice (Micromys minutus) Field Mice (possible)
Noctule Bat (Nyctalus noctula)
Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus)
Brown Long-eared Bat (Plecotus auritus)
Serotine Bat (Eptesicus serotinus)
Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) 2018 sighting, not confirmed

*According to the Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service