Mammal Species List

This checklist of wild mammals gives you all the species it would be possible to see in the French central western départements of Indre (36), Indre et Loire (37) and Vienne (86). The area is also known by the names of the old dukedoms – Berry, Touraine and Poitou. The small town of Preuilly-sur-Claise is located more or less at the intersection of the three départements, and for more information about the area, please go to our blog Days on the Claise.

Mammals form one of the most iconic groups of species for wildlife enthusiasts, but are amongst the most difficult to observe in the wild, as they are almost universally secretive and the majority are nocturnal. Encounters with mammals in the wild in an area you are not extremely familiar with will be as much luck as good field skills. Those species marked with * are those that you have a real chance of catching a glimpse of and being able to identify, if you are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes your encounter will not be with the animal itself, but with signs such as tracks. Too often, sadly, your only sighting will be of roadkill.

There is one important species not on the list. The Eurasian Wolf, Canis lupus lupus (le Loup in French) was last seen in the wild in the area covered by this checklist in the early 20th century but the plethora of place names referencing this legendary animal pay testimony to its presence in the past. Wild wolves are being seen in the remote uplands of France again, although the zoologists studying them acknowledge that it is unlikely they will be back in the Touraine, Berry and Poitou. You can see wild wolves near Preuilly, but not in the wild. The Muséum national de l'Histoire naturelle has a number of wolves at the Espace Animalier de la Haute-Touche, but be prepared to stand aside on the viewing platform as excited 10 year old French children rush up with cries of 'laylooo ! laylooo !'

The links column provides further information in the form of species accounts with details of preferred habitat, status (rarity), key information for correctly identifying and photographs. 'Link' will take you to various external websites. 'Click here' will take you to another page on this website, with photographs and local information on the species. All photographs on Loire Valley Nature have been taken by the blog authors (mostly by Simon) unless otherwise noted and the text written by Susan, using a variety of references and personal observation/experience. The links will be added to periodically as time and material allows.

If you wish to obtain a checklist for personal recording please email Susan.


  1. what a lot of information! Terrific --

  2. Wow ... what great potential for this site... I shall revisit. We have the grey long-eared bats around our cottage.

  3. very nice, we have a beautiful valley nature in Italy

  4. Love the Red Squirrel pic, Susan... should be titled>>>
    "Now! I know I left that nut here somewhere..."
    It's just the way he's sittin'

  5. Have used the information on this site to correctly identify what I originally thought was an otter as a musk rat - thank you.