Mammals...in Hong Kong. In the run up to Christmas, and the colder months, I have decided to blog about the those lovely furry creatures mammals, so for the next month or so we will find out more about these lovely wild creatures (and I may mix in some photos from the UK as well).
Mammals are warm-blooded vertebrates distinguished by the possession of hair or fur, females that secrete milk for the nourishment of the young, and (typically) the birth of live young. Mammals are known as "higher animals" with a complex body structure well adapted to their varied environments. Wild mammals are widely distributed across Hong Kong and they vary from the tiny shrew, or the even tinier lesser bamboo bat (3 g), to the wild boar (300 kg) or the huge buffalos, and range from the abundant to the very rare. Some species like the Chinese pangolin, yellow-bellied weasel, and the Eurasian otter are so rare that sightings are infrequent. It is thought that Hong Kong was once part of a great tropical broad-leaved forest with abundant elephants, tigers, wild red dogs, wolves and a wide variety of other tropical species. Many mammals, like the original macaques, died out due to the increasing human population, with the development of agriculture and the destruction of natural habitats. Hunting also added to the drastic decline and local extinction of many species. Fortunately, certain species were able to adapt with many surviving into the early 1900s and an impressive number are still around today, although it may take a lot of searching, often at night, and/or by camera traps, to be able to photograph them. The surprising fact is that Hong Kong now has over fifty species of terrestrial mammals (an animal that lives on land, unlike marine mammals like dolphins). At the latest count there were 55 existing terrestrial mammalian species in Hong Kong, and we will be looking at these over th next month, like in the book.....first up ; flying mammals/bats—25 species; then small mammals (head to body length less than 25 cm)—10 species; and lastly, large mammals (including feral domestics)—20 species.