Wildlife fact files courtesy of animalcorner.co.uk
Badgers (Meles meles), are the largest members of the Mustelid family and are Britains largest land carnivores. Badgers are rarely seen and those who catch a glimpse are very fortunate. Badgers are nocturnal, underground dwellers that are quite common on the British Isles.</p> <p>There are approximately 300,000 badgers in the United Kingdom. This may seem like a large number, however, an estimated 47,500 are killed in road accidents every year. The badger is an endangered species in many parts of the UK.
The Common Buzzard is a large bird of prey and one of the most visible of Britain’s raptors. The Common Buzzard has a large British population and can often be seen on a clear day out in the British countryside. It can be observed either sitting on a fence post awaiting its next meal to pass by or soaring swiftly in groups of two or more on the afternoon thermals.<br /> Buzzards are to be found throughout much of the UK but are still best found in hilly terrain in the West of the UK, especially in areas with barren open ground. There are around 40,000 breeding pairs in Britain. The buzzard is usually resident all year except in the coldest parts of its range.
Ducks are birds. Ducks are also called ‘Waterfowl’ because they are normally found in places where there is water like ponds, streams and rivers. Ducks are related to Geese and Swans. Ducks are sometimes confused with several types of unrelated water birds with similar forms, such as loons (an aquatic bird found in many parts of North America and northern Europe) or grebes (freshwater diving birds) and coots (medium-sized water birds which are members of the Rail Bird family).
The Common Frog (Rana temporaria) is also known as the European Common Frog or European Common Brown Frog. The Common Frog is found throughout much of Europe as far north as the Arctic Circle. The Common Frog can also be found in Ireland and is the only frog that is found there. However, it is not a native species and was introduced to the country.<br /> Other areas which the Common Frog has been introduced to include the Isle of Lewis, the Shetland Islands and the Orkney Islands, all in Scotland.
The Common Newt (Triturus vulgaris) is also known as the Smooth Newt and is one of the commonest amphibians in Europe, however, they are absent from Iberia, southern France, southern Italy and most Mediterranean islands. They are also found in Russia and western Asia. The common newt is one of three native newt species. All newts are amphibians. The Common Newt has the widest distribution of our native newts.
The Common Toad (Bufo bufo) is also known as the European Toad. Common toads are widespread in mainland Britain, mainly England, Scotland and Wales, however, they are absent from Ireland. Common Toads can also be found over most of Europe, northwest Africa and Asia. Common Toads are Britains largest and heaviest amphibians.
The Field Vole (Microtus agrestis) is also known as the Short-tailed Vole. The Field Vole is one of the most common small rodents in the countrysides of Britain and Europe. It is found throughout the British mainland, however, it is not resident in Ireland, the Isle of Man or Northern Isles. The Field Vole pre-breeding season population is estimated to be in excess of 75 million.
Hedgehogs are native to mainland Britain and are also found throughout northern and western Europe. Related and similar species are also found as far as north Africa, the Middle East and central Asia. There are 16 species of hedgehog in five genera, found through parts of Europe, Asia, Africa and New Zealand. There are no hedgehogs native to Australia and no living species native to North America. Those in New Zealand are introduced. The pre-breeding season population estimate of Hedgehogs in Britain is around 1,555,000. Many die from eating poisoned slugs.
The Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) is also known as the European Kestrel, Eurasian Kestrel or Old World Kestrel. In Britain, where no other brown falcon occurs, it is generally just called ‘the Kestrel’. The Kestrel is one of the most common birds of prey found in Britain. The population of breeding pairs in Britain is around 38,600.
The Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), is one of Britains most brightly coloured and interesting birds.</p> <p>Kingfishers are widespread, especially in central and southern England, becoming less common further north, however, following some declines last century, they are currently increasing in their range in Scotland.</p> <p>Kingfishers are found by still or slow flowing water such as lakes, canals and rivers in lowland areas. In winter, some individuals move to estuaries and the coast. Occasionally they may visit suitably sized garden ponds.</p> <p>The number of breeding pairs in the UK is 6,100 (4,400 in Britain and 1,700 in Ireland).
The Harvest Mouse (Micromys minutus) is a small rodent native to Europe and Asia. It is the smallest rodent in Europe. In Britain, it is common in parts of Wales and from Yorkshire southwards in England, however, it is not found on high ground.</p> <p>The Wood Mouse, also known as field mouse, thrives in woodland, rough grassland and gardens.<br /> Its fur is brown with a reddish tinge and a white or greyish underside. Its tail is roughly the same length as its head and body.<br /> Distinguish it from the similar yellow-necked mouse as it lacks a yellow collar that forms a bib on the chest.<br /> It stores berries and seeds in the autumn in underground burrows or sometimes in old birds’ nests.
Moles (Talpa europaea) belong to the mammal family Talpidae. Moles are very common throughout Britain, however, they are rarely seen as they spend almost their entire life underground. The Mole pre-breeding season population is estimated to be around 31,000,000.</p> <p>Male moles are called ‘boars’ and female moles are called ‘sows’. A group of moles is called a ‘labour’.
Rabbits (Orytolagus cuniculus) originated from Spain and South-West France. The rabbit was brought to England in the 12th century AD by the Normans and kept in captivity in warrens as a source of meat and fur.</p> <p>Many escaped into the wild and eventually become so common that farming them was no longer economic.</p> <p>Because of their fast breeding, a diet of virtually any vegetable matter and persecution of predators, the rabbit slowly established itself in the wild in Britain, despite originally favouring a warmer, drier climate.
The mute swan is a very large white waterbird. It has a long S-shaped neck and an orange bill with a black base. It flies with its neck extended and regular, slow wingbeats.</p> <p>The population in the UK has increased recently, perhaps due to better protection of this species. The problem of lead poisoning on lowland rivers has also largely been solved by a ban on the sale of lead fishing weights. Some birds stay in their territories all year, while others move short distances and form winter flocks. In cold weather, some birds arrive from Europe into eastern England.
The Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a member of the Canidae family and is a part of the order Carnivora within the class of mammals.</p> <p>Members of the family are called ‘canids’ and include dogs, wolves, foxes, coyotes, dingoes, jackals and African Wild Dogs.</p> <p>The Red fox is the most widely distributed and populous canid in the world, having colonised large parts of Europe, America, Asia and Africa. In the British Isles, where there are no longer any other native wild canids, it is referred to simply as ‘the fox’. The Red Fox pre-breeding season population is estimated to be 258,000.</p> <p>A male fox is called a ‘Dog’, a female fox is called a ‘Vixen’, a young fox is called either a ‘Kit’, ‘Pup’ or ‘Cub’. A group of foxes is called a ‘Skulk’.