Sunday, October 25, 2009

Flora and Fauna of Regency England

by Michele Ann Young

I thought we'd do something a little different with this monthly article, spread our wings a bit, so to speak. Most of the Naturist's Diary addresses the smaller animals, insects and garden flowers. I thought I would talk a little more about the wild fauna, animals and birds too.

In case y0u were wondering. There are no wolves in England during this period. The last wolf is thought to have been killed in 1743.

If there had been any left in the Regency, this is what they would have looked like. This is a grey wolf or canis lupus. There is talk of reintroducing them - whether it will occur will be interesting to see.

There are very few dangerous animals at all in Britain, unless they are ones that escaped from a menagerie.

The Sporting Magazine of 1810 has a story about an escaped tiger from a menagerie in Piccadilly. On September 2nd. the Royal Bengal tiger was being carried to a Bartholomew fair , the horse bolted , the den broke open, the tiger escaped , clawed someone and hid. He was recaptured shortly .

In 1816 a lioness escaped from a traveling menagerie and attacked the Exeter mail coach near Salisbury.

Either one of those incidents would make a great scene in a novel, don't you think?

There are bats, however. Only look how tiny this pipistrelle is. That is a wedding ring on a finger right next to this one. These are the smallest and most common of bats. they hang head down when roosting and can squeeze into the smallest of spaces.

So cute. I know, you are shuddering. Now what an interesting heroine she would be if she liked bats.



One of the larger animals in Britain is of course the deer. this is a fawn.

Interestingly enough by the 1800's the roe deer had been pretty well hunted out of existence in England and could only be found in wooded parts of Scotland. So for the Regency period we must remember, no deer south of the border.

There are lots more animals to talk about, but this is all for today. Until next time, Happy Rambles.