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mammals

Mammals

A broad range of mammals can be found on Gower, including those that live on land and those that prefer coastal and marine habitats.

Perhaps the most notable mammal on Gower is the otter, which suffered a decline during the 20th century. Conservation work to clean up rivers, coupled with the banning of pesticides and hunting, means that this decline has been reversed and during the last ten years the number of otters has increased. They are still very rare and mostly nocturnal, but can occasionally be seen during daylight hours hunting in the sea and along the estuary.

Atlantic grey seals can be seen resting on rocks at low tide, particularly on the north side of Worm’s Head. Dolphins sometimes swim out in the sea at the end of Worm’s Head because the currents here attract a supply of fish for them to feed on. A smaller relative of the dolphin, the harbour porpoise, can be spotted in calm waters. Both dolphins and harbour porpoises can be spotted using binoculars from Pwlldy Cliffs and Port Eynon Point when the sea is calm enough.

All types of bats are legally protected in the UK and many can be found across Gower’s diverse habitats. The numerous caves along Gower’s coast provide shelter for bats during the winter. Other areas, such as Killay Marsh with its variety of habitats including woodland and grassland, are an ideal feeding ground. In particular the natterer’s bat, the brown long-eared bat and the noctule bat can be found feeding in woodlands and close to vegetation. The ash woodlands play host to greater and lesser horseshoe bats whilst pipistrelle, daubertons and whiskered bats can also be found on the peninsula.

Badgers, foxes, rabbits, weasels and stoats all live on Gower. Weasels can be found hunting rabbits along the boundary of Long Hole Cliffs Nature Reserve at Overton. Smaller mammals such as dormice are hard to spot, although the dormice boxes installed at Gelli Hir illustrate the efforts being made to conserve and maintain their presence.