The New Forest wildlife
New Forest News
All six native reptiles are found in the New Forest, as well as three species of newt, the common frog and common toad. The New Forest is also home to Britain's only poisonous snake, the adder. In addition Britain’s two rarest reptiles, the smooth snake and the sand lizard, can be found on the drier parts of the heathlands. The sand lizard became extinct throughout Hampshire by about 1970. Since then the Forestry Commission has participated in a breeding programme for the species and combined with careful habitat management has successfully introduced it to a number of sites in the west of the Forest.
Valley mires support nationally important populations of snipe, curlew, lapwing and a few redshank. The breeding successes of the latter three are adversely affected by disturbance from recreational users and their dogs so have not fared so well in recent years.
The forest’s heathlands are also important for many bird species. These include the nationally rare Dartford warbler and woodlark, and summer visitors such as the nightjar and Montagu's harrier.
The New Forest is home to five different species of deer - Fallow, Roe, Red, Sika and Muntjac. Grey squirrels are considered a pest as they cause a great deal of damage to the trees. It is hoped that the recent arrival of predators, notably goshawks and Pine martens, will provide a natural way of controlling squirrel numbers in the future.
Badgers are found throughout the woodlands of the New Forest but in lower densities than surrounding areas. This may be attributed to the low numbers of earthworms, their preferred food.
The New Forest habitats are important places for bats. Of the 17 native species, 13 have been recorded from the New Forest. These include the nationally rare Bechstein’s and Barbastelle bats.
The Forestry Commission, in conjunction with English Nature and the Vincent Wildlife Trust, have erected some 200 boxes as secure roosts for bats. Although there is no shortage of natural roost sites for bats, especially in the deciduous woodlands, the boxes provide an excellent means of monitoring bat numbers
Up to 10,000 species of invertebrates are found in the Ancient and Ornamental woodlands and are mainly associated with the large quantities of dead wood found in these areas. One of the New Forest's most striking of the species that are dependent on dead wood is the stag beetle. This large and impressive beetle can sometimes be seen flying at dusk in mid-summer. The males have large 'antlers' which they use for fighting with each other, hence the name 'stag'. The larvae spend several years eating a rather boring diet of rotting wood before they finally emerge as beetles.
For further information about the New Forest, how to get there and a map of the forest, please go the New Forest section on the Forestry Commission website.
New Forest Facts:
• There are five types of deer in the New Forest: fallow, roe, red, sika and muntjac.
• Around 2,700 species of fungi grow in the New Forest.
These maps are intended as a guideline only; you must check the exact location of the reserve yourself. Wildlife Extra assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or usefulness of the information on this website.