What is the rarest mammal in Britain? The pine marten, perhaps? The red squirrel? Water vole? Well, a 2018 study led by The Mammal Society, which determined that one in five British mammals face a high risk of extinction here, identified three species as the most endangered. One was the Scottish wildcat, which we’ve already covered on this blog; the rather vague estimate of between 30 and 430 pure, or almost pure, wildcats still live in the remote corners of the Scottish Highlands.
If you read our previous article on the European mole, you’ll know that The Nature Nook is celebrating moles of all kinds throughout January. Today, we’ll be looking at a mole that happens to be a record holder. It’s the iconically bizarre star-nosed mole, and it has been named the fastest eating mammal in the world.
With an estimated population of over 40 million, the European mole is one of the most common mammals in the British Isles. Yet it is one that we hardly, if ever, see. The only clues that might give away its presence are the odd clumps of soil that we call molehills. Of course, it’s hardly surprising that the mole is so elusive because it spends virtually the whole of its short but active life underground, safely hidden from predators above.