Monday, 21 May 2018

Corn snake is but the latest exotic species to call Wanstead home

The sighting of a corn snake in Wanstead Park came as a surprise.
An exotic looking orange snake that looked like it belonged in much warmer climes. Indeed, it was a surprise to learn that there had been others sightings in the locality over recent years. 
One observer recalled how her daughter had a corn snake, that had to be kept warm at all times. Maybe, the Wanstead Park corn snakes are hardier souls.
They should certainly be welcome in the area, living as they do off rats and mice
The corn snake though is but the latest foreign species to settle around here.
The parakeets are now a common sight around Wanstead Park and local gardens. Some escaped from private collections years ago but they have now become commonplace. 
A walk around the Ornamental lake in the park, particularly on a sunny day, will often yield the sight of the terrapins resting on logs.
The mink has become an unwelcome visitor, since their release from captivity a few years ago. I saw three mink a few years ago on the paths by the Ornamental lake. 
Mink have been trapped but some are still around. There are hopes to attract otters to the Roding, which should see the disappearance of mink. The otter is about twice the size of a mink and they don't get on.
There have also been the American crayfish in the area in past years - another invasive species. 
But then going back, so many species have migrated to this land -rabbits came with the Romans, then later there was the grey squirrel and a variety of deer. 
But then animals are no different from humans, we all migrated in at some point, some are just more recent arrivals than others.

published - Wanstead & Woodford Guardian - 24/5/2018 

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