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Four unusual Exmoor animals and their habits

A few weeks ago we wrote about how Exmoor Zoo had been inundated by a huge murmuration of starlings.
Staff at the zoo, near our Exmoor holiday cottages, had been forced to clean up regularly after the messy visitors.
Now the starlings have made the news again, after forming a huge flying sign on Tuesday morning.
The birds grouped together and flew as a squadron spelling out the words Exmoor Zoo. Or at least, that’s what staff at the zoo would have us believe.
With Tuesday having been April Fool’s day we decided we didn’t believe this and our suspicions were confirmed!
However, it did inspire us to look at some examples of unusual behaviour from animals on Exmoor, as well as some unusual animals which you may not expect to find on the moor.

Rutting Stags

Ok, so it’s not so unusual, but seeing rutting stags is a spectacular sight.
Each autumn stags across the moor seek to assert their dominance over others in order to mate with the best female deer, which means there are often face offs between competing stags.
With the animals capable of growing up to seven foot tall and 18 stones in weight the collisions when they clash can be fearsome.
They’re also dangerous, so it’s best not to get too close. Stag safaris like Johnny Kingdom’s are the best way to see this action.


Wild wolves died out in the UK a long time ago, but they’re alive and well on Exmoor at Shaun Ellis’ Wolf Centre.
Run by Shaun and his wife, the stars of Channel 5 series The Wolfman and Mr and Mrs Wolf, the centre shows how the pair have an exceptional bond with dogs and wolves.

The Exmoor Beast
Ok, so there’s no proof the beast is real but there are plenty of people who swear it is.
The first reported sightings came in the 1970s, and the animal became notorious in 1983 when a   South Molton   farmer   claimed to have lost more than 100   sheep   in just three months, with the animals dying from violent   throat   injuries.
It’s thought the animal, or animals, may have first found themselves on the moor when a law was passed in the 1960s after a law was passed banning people from keeping big cats as pets.
If you do see one, make sure you take a picture or you’re sure to be laughed at when you turn up at the nearest Exmoor pub to tell people what you’ve just seen.

Exmoor Ponies

We’ve blogged about the Exmoor pony before and many people may remember the famous Moorland Mousie books by Muriel Wace.
There are currently only around 800 currently in existence worldwide, making them the definition of an unusual animal.
To get a real idea of how the Exmoor Pony survives in the wild and see the beautiful animal in its natural environment why not take a trip to West Somerset and stay in one of Duddings’ self-catering cottages.

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