Mammals

One lady in the village described to us how early one morning a wild boar (JabalÍs) crossed the road as she drove out the village, followed by another, then another, and eventually she counted 17! Wild boar are common in Spain but dangerous only if cornered with young and/or injured, something which is only likely to happen in a hunting scenario. Chance encounters are unusual as boars are extremely wary of humans, and they almost inevitably result in a fleeing wild boar. You will see area where they have turned over the ground, and also may see their footprints in dried up mud hollows.
You may well also see rabbits, hares and foxes.

We have seen foxes (zorro) late at night drivng back to the village. As in other countries rabbits were devestated by the mixamatosis outbreak 20 years ago - part of the reason for the decline in the Iberian Lynx. A few years ago 20 foxes were released at various points in the valley to restore the balance of preditors.

Polecats are native to the area and we have seen these at night. It is a comparatively large relative of the weasel. Dark brown fur and conspicous black and white facial markings give it a masked appearance. They hunt for mammals and birds, often taking eggs and young birds.

The mouflon is thought to be one of two original ancestors of all modern day sheep. It originated on the islands of Corsica, Sardina, and Cyprus, but has recently been introduced in much of Europe. Like most wild sheep, the mouflon lives in mountainous terrain, usually above the tree line or in mountain meadows. We have seen a very large male with a huge "beard" on the Serella tracks.

Ibex and arruí (wild goat) are surefooted and agile; they usually travel in small herds of about a dozen animals, feeding on a wide variety of vegetation. The males are particularly impressive with long beards almost reaching the floor. Your far more likely to see the domestic goat (Capra) which are herded by sheperds in the mountains.

The Iberian, or Spanish, Lynx is currently the most endangered wild cat in the world. The Iberian Lynx looks like a smaller version of the Eurasian animal. They are closer in size to the Canada Lynx, Lynx canadensis , and are similar in habits as well, since they rely on rabbits for a large part of their diet. As far as we know there aren't any in the area, but you never know! There are less than 500 known survivors in the wild.

The common genet (Genetta genetta), a night-stalking, house-cat-sized carnivore, is nonetheless one of the most common predators in southern olive groves and other agricultural lands. This seldom-seen animal may have found its way to Spain via Moorish colonizers, who brought the animals from Africa and domesticated them to control household rats.

Twenty-five bat species inhabit mainland Spain. Savi's pipistrelle (Pipistrellus savii) dwells in many of the same places as the crag martin. In Spain, they primarily nest or roost in crevices in walls and cliffs. Other bats are more common in towns even in large cities. Common and Kuhl's pipistrelles. You will see bats in the evening in the village.

If you are lucky you may see dolphins along the coast at Sierra Helada, here are some we spotted!

 

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