Red Squirrels still live in Jersey and, unlike the rest of the U.K. mainland, their numbers have suffered no reduction due to the Grey Squirrel, which may not be imported.
Jersey Toad (Crapaud)
As Jersey’s unofficial island mascot, toads (or crapauds) occupy a fond place in the hearts of many islanders. Moreover they have declined in recent decades (especially in the centre and north of the island), having once been very common throughout Jersey.
The agile frog Rana dalmatina is distributed widely throughout much of southern and central Europe, but is found in only a few northern locations including Jersey - the frog is not found anywhere else in the British Isles. The Jersey population of the agile frog has been declining in both range and numbers since the early 1900’s. In the 1970’s only seven localities were listed where the frog could still be found, and by the mid 1980’s this had fallen to only two sites. In 1987 one of the remaining two populations was lost as a result of a lethal spill of agricultural pesticide into the breeding pond. The species is now believed to be confined to a single vulnerable population in the south-west of the island.
The Vespertilinoid bats comprise an important part of Jersey’s mammal fauna making up approximately 40% of all local mammal species. Two new varieties not previously thought to live in the island were identified as part of a government led Bat Survey in 2003; a continental-type of pipistrelle and the brown long-eared bat.
Green Lizard and Wall Lizards
Jersey is the only area in Britain where green lizards occur naturally. The species is among the largest in Europe with adult males reaching lengths of between 30 and 40 cm (16 in.) and with body weights of up to 45g. having been recorded. Recent studies show that Jersey’s green lizard is found exclusively in Western Europe and is a sub-species of Lacerta viridis, a European green lizard with a range extending much further east.
There are colour variations within the species, designed, perhaps, to blend with the surrounding vegetation, though the predominant colour is green. Adult males are distinguished from the females by a larger head and a blue throat, the latter becoming much more prominent during the breeding season. The throat of the female is yellowish green. The breeding season takes place in April and May and at this time fierce fighting among males is not uncommon as they establish territories. Between five and twenty eggs are produced in June or July. The clutch is then hidden beneath vegetation or soil and warmed by the sun. The young emerge in September.
Local Wall lizards are said to have a stronghold in the walls of Mont Orgueil Castle!
At least 49 species of butterflies have been recorded in Jersey. Around 26 of these can be expected to be encountered every year. The 28 species which are seen nearly every year are thought to be historically resident which included regular migrants that breed here like the clouded yellow, red admiral and painted lady.
Jersey has five species of small mammal. The wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) is a common mouse that is found over Britain and the continent. It has a wide diet eating mainly seeds and fruits but surprisingly it eats insects as well. The Jersey bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus caesarius) is an endemic species to Jersey being a larger form of the common bank vole that is found over Britain and Europe. They have a stricter diet than the mice, sticking to vegetation and seeds. Jersey has two species of shrew, both continental species at the most Northerly of their range, the Lesser white-toothed shrew (Crocidura suaveolens) and the French shrew (Sorex coronatus). Shrews are insectivores needing to eat many times their own body weight over the 24 hour period in order to feed their incredibly high metabolism. They can’t exist in a habitat that can not provide them with enough food.
For further information on local species of wildlife visit The States of Jersey Environment website.