Look closely, and you may be lucky enough to spot a passing muntjac deer or a grass snake slithering off into the grass. Aston’s Eyot is home to a range of mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
It can be hard to see vertebrates on the eyot, but being patient and quiet may increase your chances. Deer, badgers, and frogs and toads are all common on the eyot. Below, you’ll see a long list of confirmed species that have been spotted on the eyot. If you’d like to contribute to our observations, then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aston’s Eyot mammal list
- Roe Deer – resident, up to 8 on Long Meadow, usually 2-4 on Aston’s Eyot itself; commute to and from Christ Church Meadow by swimming across Cherwell; first noted about 1999.
- Muntjac Deer – resident, but shy; in 2022 at least 6 adults on Aston’s Eyot; young ones seen regularly with adults; first appeared in the late 1980s; give birth at all seasons.
- Rabbit – rare resident, much fewer than in the 1980s due to expansion of nettles and large numbers of dogs, foxes, badgers etc.
- Brown Hare – last recorded ca.2000; unlikely to return.
- Fox – resident, best seen early in the morning.
- Domestic Cat – Occasionally seen; appear to be local moggies exploring, not feral animals.
- Stoat – not seen recently.
- Weasel – not seen after 2005 until reappeared in 2012, though very rarely seen.
- Otter – increasingly frequent on and around the Thames and Cherwell; 1-2 sightings per year on AE or nearby.
- American Mink – resident, infrequently seen; not recorded recently.
- Badger – resident since c.2005, around 20 live on AE; one road-killed on Donnington Bridge in early 2011.
- Hedgehog – recorded ca.2000, not reported recently, but possibly still present; some in Iffley Fields gardens 2013.
- Common Shrew – common resident, though not often seen.
- Pygmy Shrew – recorded ca.2000, not reported recently, but probably still there.
- Mole – active mole-hills are abundant on the eyot.
- Bank Vole – abundant resident, though not often seen.
- Short-tailed Vole – recent skulls found in February 2012 confirm continued presence; 1 seen in 2014.
- Water Vole – occurred in the past (1980s); one seen November 2020 (and March 2022 near Iffley Lock).
- Wood Mouse – very common on Aston’s Eyot, often caught on camera traps at night.
- Brown Rat – resident, breeds; rarely seen in daylight, but regularly caught on camera traps.
- Grey Squirrel – Numerous resident, breeds on Aston’s Eyot.
- Noctule – heard with bat detector in September 2011.
- Common Pipistrelle – common resident, identified with bat detector.
- Soprano Pipistrelle – common resident, identified with bat detector.
- Daubenton’s Bat – seen over the Thames in September 2011, 2014.
Aston’s Eyot reptile list
- Slow Worm – one seen 2011; known to be eaten by badgers.
- Grass Snake – resident, only occasionally seen; adults recorded most years, young only in 2012.
- Adder – reported early 2000s, not recently confirmed and considered extinct in Oxfordshire.
- Red-eared Slider – released / escaped individuals of this American terrapin turn up around Oxford and can live for many years; one in the Cherwell in 2012 is the only record for Aston’s Eyot.
Aston’s Eyot reptile list
- Common Frog – common resident, breeds in ditches on Aston’s Eyot, but scarce since 2020.
- Common Toad – resident, breeds on Aston’s Eyot, but scarce in recent years.
- Smooth Newt – resident in parts of the ditch in small numbers; adults & tadpoles recorded by pond dipping.
(lists last revised 25.03.2022)
Seen something interesting?
From the arrival of the first winter migrant birds, to something that leaves you stumped, please get in touch – and remember, a photo always helps!