Welcome to the developing Shropshire Mammal Atlas!
The maps show the distribution of our terrestrial mammals at tetrad [2km2] resolution. Records up to 2018 are included. The bats will be added in due course when available.
Terrestrial Mammals in Shropshire
At some 3500 square kilometres in extent, Shropshire is the largest landlocked vice-county in the UK. It also boasts a very diverse geology with most geological periods of time, and most rock types, found within the county. This geological diversity is the basis of a varied landscape within which’ excluding bats, 21 native and 11 introduced wild mammals currently make their home.
These mammals are a diverse bunch, for example in Shropshire their sizes range from the tiny 3g Pygmy Shrew (Sorex minutus) to the 200kg (200000g!) Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) stag. Yet, many, perhaps all, share the common mammalian trait of behavioural plasticity, meaning that they have been able to modify their behaviour to survive in a county that has undergone significant land use changes in what is the blink of an eye in geological timescales.
It is perhaps unsurprising then that many of Shropshire’s mammals are ubiquitous in the county with gaps in distribution more likely to be indicative of a lack of recording rather than an absence of the mammal in question. Clearly though, the abundance of any particular species in a locality will, generally speaking, be correlated to the extent of preferred habitat and amount of preferred foods it contains. For example, you would do well to see an otter anywhere but the distribution shows that you’d be best spending your time near one of Shropshire’s main rivers, rather than in a woodland where fish and other aquatic food items are rather scarce!
Similar broad(ish) generalisations can be made for most Shropshire mammals and the table below gives an overview of the county distribution in the recent past along with indicative reasoning as to why they occur, or don’t occur, where they do.
|Broad distribution||Species (arranged alphabetically)|
|Ubiquitous Able to survive in most habitats but probably scarce: a) Where arable farming dominates and so cover and certain food items can be scarce b) On the tops of the highest hills where cover can be scarce and the climate comparatively harsh||Badger, bank vole, brown hare, brown rat, common shrew, field vole, (red) fox, grey squirrel, hedgehog, mole, (Reeves’) muntjac deer, polecat, pygmy shrew, (European) rabbit, stoat, weasel, wood mouse, yellow-necked mouse|
|Riverine Closely associated with watercourses, but may also be found near standing open water or wetland where food is plentiful||American mink, otter, water shrew, water vole|
|Specific locations This could be down to a) Recent arrival in the county so have yet to disperse themselves b) Limited ability to disperse c) Poorly adapted to the local climate d) Former or current persecution Or any combination of these||Chinese water deer, pine marten, red deer, sika deer, wild boar|
|Primarily woodland (including parkland)||Fallow deer, hazel dormouse, roe deer|
|Primarily grassland and arable||Harvest mouse|
|Primarily dwellings (both human and domestic animal)||House mouse|
Robert Mileto 2020
Species maps – click on the map image to enlarge. The maps have been produced by the former County Mammal Recorder Lorcán Adrain.
Species pages – where the page name is in bold, click on the name to got to its atlas page with an enlarged map and information on the animal and its distribution. Pages for other species will be added as they are written by a variety of our 150 or so members.
Mammal Atlas pages can also be accessed via pull-down menu at the top of each page. If you can’t see the whole sub-menu, click page down. As more species are added, they will be grouped by the name of their order.
You will notice that many of what should be the more common species are severely under-recorded, so please keep sending your records in!