Flora and Fauna
Italy’s fauna includes few mammals closely associated with marshes. The most specialised is undoubtedly the Otter, but unfortunately this species disappeared from the Val di Chiana over half a century ago. There are still two little known small rodents: the European water vole (Arvicola amphibius) and the Harvest mouse (Micromys minutus). The latter is Europe’s smallest mouse and the only one to have developed a prehensile tail, adapting to life among the tall grasses of the reedbeds and marshes. There are also the Water shrew and Weasel. Although hard to spot during the day, local ungulates include a fair number of wild boar and roe deer.
The Reserve is also home to the Beech Marten, the Porcupine, the Hedgehog, the Badger and, for several years now, the Wolf. There is also a flying mammal too, with the Reserve providing hospitality for an undisturbed proliferation of Daubenton’s bats (Myotis daubentonii). This little bat will make its home in a variety of environments, as long as they are close to marshlands, which it uses as hunting grounds. Its prey includes small fish, which it catches as it flies across the surface of the water.