Reptiles & Amphiibians & Mammals
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Reptiles & Amphibians
Located in a floodplain networked with ditches and ponds, Marden is home to a healthy population of amphibians and reptiles.
A lake recently created for flood mitigation was officially ‘opened’ a few months after completion, by which time it had already been colonised by great crested newts from a nearby pond.
Toads are well-established residents of older gardens as well as roadside ditches. As well as their common cousins, marsh frogs are frequently heard, If not seen. In early summer, the damp undergrowth close to ditches and ponds teams with tiny froglets – a great draw for other animals with young, as well as themselves, to feed.
Not least of these are grass snakes. Adept at swimming, they are equally at home in water as on land so are perfectly adapted to take advantage of aquatic prey as well as land-based invertebrates, birds and small mammals that make up their normal diet – as well as nature’s generous provision of froglets.
Slow worms forage for invertebrates in the damp top layer of soil so are readily encountered in gardens, especially in the vicinity of compost heaps.
Along with common (or viviparous) lizards, all these cold-blooded reptiles are often seen basking in a warm sunlit patch or on log pile specially created for them.
The village and surrounding farmland are home to all the common, and some less common, mammals found elsewhere in the Low Weald. Otter and, as far as we know, water vole are absent – the latter probably because of the presence of American mink.
A healthy population of rodents supports the larger animals that feed on them. Bank and field voles, along with the common mice and rat species, sustain owls, birds of prey and the ubiquitous fox and badger. Harvest and hazel dormice, though infrequently seen, are found in field margins and suitable hedges – the latter often nesting in boxes provided for them or birds. While grey squirrels delight with their antics, their numbers are not good news for open-nesting birds – or foresters.
Rabbit populations fluctuate but help support the local buzzards. Hares are seen but sadly suffer from illegal hunting.
Insectivores are plentiful: shrews, including the venomous water shrew, bats and hedgehogs.
The whereabouts of hedgehogs, in steep decline nationally, are recorded by villagers to establish where they are still regularly found or – perhaps more importantly – where they are missing. The ideal habitat for them is found along untidy hedgerows, areas of scrub and species-rich field margins and meadows where they feed on invertebrates and any small mammals or birds’ eggs or nestlings they find in their nightly foraging. Unsurprisingly, the majority are reported in village gardens.
Our woodland, hedgerows and plentiful water bodies provide excellent foraging for bats. Daubenton’s bats mount impressive evening displays skimming local lakes for insects. Local bat detectorists, bat walks with an expert guide, and a formal survey by Kent Bat Group have established the presence of at least seven species to date. Further detailed investigation by experienced bat workers is required.
Fallow and roe deer are commonly seen and, if the national trend is being followed locally, increasing. Although attractive to watch, there is concern that an increasing population will seriously damage the woodland habitat essential for so much of the local flora and fauna.
Fauna and Flora
We have generically grouped all our Fauna and Flora and know that these groupings aren't always perfectly correct, but this has been done to make it simple to get an idea of the variety of species we have in our parish. We do not expect this website to be used as an encyclopaedia.
Our unique environment allows a great variety of species
Reptiles & Amphibians & Mammals
You'll be surprise what's we have in the area
Great variety of moths, butterflies, dragonflies and more
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Orchids & Flowers
Such a diverse amount of flowers in different environments
Trees and what comes with them
Trees create homes for many different elements of wildlife