Frequently Asked Questions Answers General

FoxFox

Frequently Asked Questions - Answers General

Q. There is a snake in my garden with eyes but it has legs?

A. The Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillar is sometimes confused with a small snake. It mimics a snake as a defence against predators and has large eyespots at the head end. It is completely harmless and should be left alone to pupate and emerge as one of our most beautiful moths.

Q. There is a huge stripy spider in our garden – is it poisonous?

A. In recent years the wasp spider has colonised southern England from the continent. It grows quite large and has yellow and black stripes which act as a warning colouration to predators. It is a large orb spider ie it builds a web, usually amongst rough grass and scrub, including gardens, at ground level to catch grasshoppers its preferred prey. Although large the spider is completely harmless.

Q. There are no butterflies this year, why?

A. Numbers of butterflies and other insects fluctuate greatly from year to year. Adverse weather conditions can affect the overwintering and emergence of insects and bad weather over the summer can lead to the partial loss of a generation of butterflies. In addition in some year’s butterfly larvae are heavily parasitized, for example the Holly Blue is in synch with its specialised parasite on a seven year cycle. However, over the years these fluctuations average out. This is all part of the natural cycle and there is nothing we can do about it as these factors are outside our control.

Q. There are no acorns this year, why is this?

A. Weather conditions and poor pollination can lead to trees producing very few acorns some years. Conversely some years acorns are very numerous. However over the years these fluctuations average out. In the course of its long life an oak tree will produce millions of acorns. This is all part of the natural cycle and there is nothing we can do about it as these factors are outside our control.

Q. There is a badger/fox in our garden will it attack my dogs/children?

A. No. They are timid animals and will always try and escape from people – unless they are cornered and cannot escape. If they feel trapped they may become aggressive. If this is the case they should be allowed the space to escape from gardens or other confined spaces.