Skip navigation |

Mammal Identification Guides

Learn how to identify mammals as well as their tracks and signs.

The mammals of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly vary in size from the smallest - the pygmy shrew, Sorex minutus, which is about the size of a thumb, to the largest - the fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus, which is the second largest animal in the world.

Mammals vary in abundance as well as size. Some species are common, such as the rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, and grey squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis. On the other hand, some are nationally rare and difficult to see including the common dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius, and otter, Lutra lutra.

The following species identification guides are available to read and download:

Deer Identification Guide


Deer are present on the mainland in Cornwall, but not on the Isles of Scilly. The downloadable guide includes information on how to identify different deer species seen as well as their tracks and signs. In addition, their associated habitats and the food they eat.

Deer Fact Sheet

Deer Identification Guide

Carnivore Identification Guide

Carnivorous Mammals

Carnivorous mammals in Britain occupy the top of the wildlife food chain. These carnivores can be a good indicator of habitat quality and are identifiable by their tracks and droppings. There are six species of carnivore found within Cornwall, some of which are native and others introduced. There are no carnivorous mammals on the Isles of Scilly.

Carnivore Identification Guide

Small Mammal Identification Guide

Small Mammals

There are thought to be about 11 species of small mammals in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Typically, small mammals do not exceed 130 mm in body length, from head to tail; both rats and water voles are included within this guide however.

The small mammals of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are difficult to see as many are elusive and nocturnal in their behaviour and habits. As a result, they are largely under recorded. This guide will help identify the species themselves, as well as some of the distinctive signs they leave.

Small Mammal Identification Guide

Marine Mammal Identification Guide

Marine Mammals

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are home to some of the richest marine wildlife in the country. Identifying and collecting data about marine mammals helps significantly to understand our marine fauna and help protect it. There are a number of headlands around Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly which are good vantage points from which to spot marine mammals. There are about nine species of marine mammals that can be spotted around the coastlines.

Marine Mammal Identification Guide

Rabbits and Brown Hares

Rabbits, despite their seeming abundance, are under recorded in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. This guide will help look for their signs.

Rabbit Identification Guide

Brown hares are less common than rabbits and are also under recorded. The majority of records ERCCIS have received have been for the middle and east of Cornwall.

Brown Hare Identification Guide

Celebrating Cornwall’s Mammals – from Dormice to DolphinsFind out more about this ERCCIS project that ran from 2003 to 2007.

Related Links