The Surrey heaths therefore, hold a position of paramount importance
in the conservation of our indigenous reptiles and amphibians.
The most obvious and locally abundant mammal on heathland in Surrey
is the rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus. The commonest rodents
are field voles Microtus agrestis and wood mice Apodemus
sylvaticus, found in the grassier areas, but two much scarcer
members of this group occur on heathland in the county. Rank grass,
especially purple moor-grass, can support harvest mice Micromys
minutus and, in a few locations where this is close to small
streams, there are important populations of water vole Arvicola
terrestris which has long gone from the main rivers of the county.
Foxes Vulpes vulpes, stoats Mustela erminea and weasels
Mustela nivalis prey on smaller mammals. Roe deer Capreolus
capreolus favour scrub invaded heath and areas developing into secondary
woodland, though they have little effect on scrub control. In recent
years, the introduced muntjac deer Muntiacus reevesi has
spread into the county and may be encountered on heathland.
Mammals and reptiles
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