One of the many things I love about Normandy is the amount of wildlife we see. It makes the horribly early school run a bit more bearable when we see so much wildlife (well, until it gets too dark!) and a walk or trip in the car will always result is something beautiful being seen. Some animals like rabbits are commonly seen in many places but there is plenty of wildlife here that you might not see elsewhere.
Wildlife of Normandy
Roe DeerThe woods around us are full of roe deer and watching their delicate canter as they head away from a passing car or walker is a such a treat.
In French a roe deer is a chevreuille where as a red deer is a cerf and a fallow deer is a daim. A female of any species is a biche and a stag is (somewhat confusingly) called a cerf.
Wild BoarThese large wild pigs live in the larger woodland areas but are very shy and in 8 years here I have never seen one. I have seen their tracks in the mud and the damage they do digging for food but that is it. One family staying in the gite did see one once though, a male, and said he was very impressive.
The French for wild boar is sanglier and you will often see the meat made into dried sausages (saussisons).
Red SquirrelsThese adorable creatures are the resident squirrel of France where there are no grey squirrels to compete against. Autumn is a great time of year to see them as they are busy gathering nuts to store for the winter. Unlike other small mammals they rarely hibernate unless we have a prolonged cold spell so they need these hidden supplies to survive.
The French for squirrel is écureuil and whilst most foreigners struggle to say squirrel, most non-French speakers have trouble pronouncing écureuil correctly, myself included.
Stone MartensThe stone marten, also known as a beech marten, is similar to a pine marten but is a species not found in the UK. It is common in France although not often seen as it is nocturnal. It can cause problems for poultry owners and will kill chickens so secure night time sheds are advisable. It is not unknown also to overwinter in lofts where it can make a lot of noise when it moves around at night!
In French a stone marten is known as a fouine which is reflected in it's Latin name Martes foina. This is also the name for a weasel in French.
HaresIn the UK hares are becoming increasingly rare and whilst I saw them when I was younger and lived in The Cotswolds I am not sure I ever saw one in Kent. However, in Normandy they are frequently seen especially if you are around at sunrise (i.e. on the school run!). They are one of my all time favourite animals (along with hippos which sadly we don't see in France!) and I have a Hare Pinterest board in their honour.
The French for hare is lièvre which presumably is where the English word of leveret, for a young hare, comes from.
ToadsEach spring our little pond gets a couple of good dollops of frog spawn in it and as the year progresses the tadpoles grow into froglets. Not all the froglets are, in fact, frogs and some should actually be called toadlets (if such a word exists). It is difficult to see the toadspawn as it exists below the surface and in thin strands rather than clumps but it must be there because, as well as the toadlets, we also have a lot of adults toads ... who like nothing more than pretending to be a stone when I go out at dusk to shut the birds in and then move when I am not expecting them too!
I also wanted to include toads in my Normandy wildlife list simply because their name in French is sure to elicit a few sniggers from readers. The French for toad is crapaud (pronounced crappo!).
BuzzardsI couldn't finish a list of Normandy wildlife without including at least one bird. I previously wrote a post about why Normandy is good for birdwatching and what rarities you might be lucky to see but buzzards are a bird that you are sure to see every day if you stay at Eco-Gites of Lenault. They are amazingly common swooping over the landscape or resting on posts and fences. They are beautiful birds and I never tire of seeing them.
The French for buzzard is buse pronounced somewhat like booze.
This is just a fraction of all the wildlife you could see when in Normandy. If you click on the label Wildlife/flowers in the right hand column it will bring up all the posts I have written.
From the list above, I have only yet to see a wild boar and I am hopeful that will happen one day. Have you seen many of the creatures on list list here in Normandy or have you seen any other species of note? Do please let me know in a comment.
This post will be linked to the weekly Animal Tales blog linky which opens on Tuesday 22nd September on this blog. Come and link up your animal blog posts or come back and read lots of lovely animal blog posts.
All images are from Wikipedia and are marked for re-use.