This year has got off to an exciting start for rodent enthusiasts, with a wild beaver captured on an infrared camera in southwest England, as Alex Pearce reports in more detail in her column looking at our native species. Given the way in which beavers are able to alter the landscape, it is highly unlikely that it could have escaped attention for long. In fact, it was the distinctive tooth marks on trees that helped to alert local people to the fact that at least one beaver could be living wild in their area.
Western parts of England have a tradition of being home to unexpected large members of the rodent family. It was here for many years that a breeding group of porcupines, believed to have escaped from a local zoological collection, were to be found. Occasional sightings of these highly distinctive creatures were recorded, often by shocked motorists who encountered them lumbering out across a road in front of them! There are still said to be some in Wiltshire.
At present, it remains a mystery as to where the beaver could have come from – zoos now have to keep stock sheets of all their animals, and apparently, there are no reports of any beavers going missing in the region.
Other exciting news is that we have just published our guide to choosing and caring for small furry pets. A large number of diff erent species are included, ranging from rabbits and guinea pigs to smaller pets such as hamsters, gerbils and various mice.
Chinchillas, rats and degus are also featured, as well as more unusual species such as sugar gliders and African pygmy hedgehogs. The aim is to help you to choose the pet that is most appropriate for you and your situation, by letting you know what is involved in their care from the outset.