Cannizaro Park is a haven for a large variety of the native British animals with the notable exception of the deer family. All of the mammals are generally wary of humans and try to avoid us, the exception being the Grey Squirrel which seems to love our company both for food and the opportunity to find a nice dry, warm space in the loft. This does not mean to say that the presence of the rest of the animals is not noticed on the park.
The foxes live in a number of different sites, creating their dens (or ‘earths’ as they are known in urban areas) in wooded spots and having less extensive summer residences beneath shrubs. They can also occasionally can be seen sunbathing on building roofs or quiet places. The badgers have an extensive sett in the woods and the presence of the moles and the rabbits can be seen in a number of places. The mice, shrews, voles, hedgehogs, weasels and stoats generally keep well away from us hiding in their favourite places or only coming out at night. The best places for bats are around the pond and on the back lawns. Check for them just around dusk and are best seen when having the sky as a backdrop, this shows their silhouette against the background.
Not all of the animals are appreciated all the time; rabbits can eat many of our favourite plants. Foxes dig for food, especially beetles, on the grass areas. The badgers dig all over the place and the moles create their eponymous hills any where they want, it seems nothing gets in their way.
In their defence all of the animals on the park carry out some good work. They dispose of carrion, catch worms and slugs and most importantly form a balanced ecosystem or habitat which benefits not only the members but the community around.
This member of the dog family is a true survivor. It occupies all areas of the country and seems to survive as well in towns as in its traditional habitat. There are several families on and around the park all of them hungry and all scavenging for food. High pitched shrieks are often made particularly when the adults want the young to leave and find a place of their own. Often seen at dawn and dusk or relaxing in the sun on a warm summer day.
The badger is a protected species with its own Act of Parliament. They live in family groups with the entire group responsible for bringing up the young but occasionally young males leave to join other setts Though classified as being a carnivore, badgers are effectively omnivorous most of their diet consists of earthworms, although they also eat insects, spiders, small mammals, eggs and berries.
This very helpful little mammal is shy and is usually only seen at dawn and dusk but it is getting scarce. They eat worms and slugs often wandering across open areas gathering food as they go. In cold winter weather hedgehogs may hibernate in piles of leaves and twigs.