The Wart-biter bush-cricket (or Kent’s Jiminy Cricket as we like to call them) is one of the UK’s most at risk species. They need a very specific type of environment to survive and are therefore restricted to this very small patch of the Kent’s countryside. We are working to improve up to 30 additional acres of ideal habitat, helping to support wart-biter bush-cricket to move more freely across the landscape. The promotion of greater numbers of Wart-biter at the site will also support potential work to re-establish additional Wart-biter colonies at other sites across the historic chalk downlands of East Kent, and beyond.
Working with local people we are leading the fight to save one of the UK’s rarest and largest insects from the brink of extinction. With only remnant wings the wart-biter cannot fly and can only cover short distances by crawling, which means that it is often an easy meal for a range of predators including crows, magpies and kestrels.
This fascinating species of cricket became extinct in Kent in the mid-1970s but was reintroduced at Lydden Temple Ewell Nature Reserve in the 1990s by Kent Wildlife Trust and Natural England. The Nature Reserve remains the only site for the species in the county, which means that the creation of suitable habitat here is essential to promote greater numbers of cricket, and ensure the survival of this “flagship species” in Kent.
If we are successful in securing funding from Tesco’s ‘bags of help’ fund, we will be able to deliver increased gains for wildlife and people. With this level of funding we will undertake scrub control while doubling the areas of chalk grassland habitat cleared. We would also offer community engagement opportunities, delivering a total of 15 volunteer task days, to enable local people to support the maintenance of the reserve, as well as a total of three ‘Wart-biter and Wildlife Safari Walks”.
You can support our efforts to save Kent’s Jiminy Cricket by visiting Tesco in either Deal of Dover, and put your charity token in our box.