The Hidden Heritage of High Lodge

Mammals of High Lodge

The High Lodge area is home to a number of mammals species.

Fox - British Wildlife Centre (17429406401)
Fox - British Wildlife Centre (17429406401)
Airwolfhound from Hertfordshire, UK [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Foxes live in the Forest, often making their dens or earths under a tree trunk, in a hollow tree or in dense bracken, it may be a foxhole, especially if it is near water and on a gentle slope. Foxes have a diverse diet, from rabbits and voles to birds and their eggs, from earthworms to beetles and fruit. Like dogs, fox tracks have four toes - two at the front and one at each side - and a roughly oval-shaped pad at the rear. Fox tracks are narrower, with the toes closer together, giving it a diamond shape; where as a dog's tracks are slightly rounder. Fox tracks are around 5cm long and up to 4cm wide and any prints larger than this are likely to be a dog's. As well as seeing the footprints of a fox, you might hear an eerie screeching sound, especially if you are in the forest towards sunset. This is the vixen, screaming to let the male know she is ready to mate. The dog fox sounds much more like a domestic dog Fox cubs are born in the Spring and, like puppies, are deaf, blind and dependent on their mother's milk at birth though by the Autumn, they are independent.

kallerna [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Badgers also live in the Forest, especially where the woodland edge and open country meet. The setts in which they sleep tend to be located in the shelter of woodland. Badgers seem to dig their holes where they can tunnel in sideways rather than straight down so they prefer a sloping site rather than a very flat one. Depending on the size of the sett there may be a single hole or up to twenty holes, with spoil heaps outside them. Badgers emerge at night to forage in the fields nearby. Earthworms are a favourite food but they will eat rabbits, rodents, apples and acorns and the eggs of ground-nesting birds. They travel on regular paths which are narrow and twist and turn through the trees and their footprints are distinctive, with five toes positioned ahead of a broad rear pad.

Hedgehog (Erinaceus Europaeus)
©Michael Gäbler / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons

Hedgehogs also live in the forest and can sometimes be seen foraging along the edges of rides.

On summer evenings bats are at their most active! Look for them at dusk over the main grassy area at High Lodge or flying above the tree line. Though it is a rare bat, the Barbastrelle lives around High Lodge and you might catch a glimpse of its pug-like face and large, wide ears. A bat with huge ears is the Brown Long-Eared Bat - it can even hear a ladybird moving on a leaf! Pipistrelles are tiny bats with reddish-brown coats and are the most common bat. They emerge at dusk to feed for a couple of hours before returning to their roosts.

Thetford Forest has fallow, roe, red and muntjac deer. They are described in detail on their own page.