Many people don’t consider the united kingdom to have much variety in terms of wildlife

Many people don’t consider the United Kingdom to have much variety in terms of wildlife. The country is densely populated and extremely urbanised with precious few areas for wild animals to flourish. The most successful species are those that can live alongside humans in towns and cities. While the country cannot compete for variety with many others there are still a large range of animals living on the British Isles.

One of the most controversial animals living in Britain is the fox. Wily and cunning the fox is related to dogs and is an effective predator and scavenger. Foxes have coped remarkably well with Man’s civilisation, adapting to town conditions and the country life exceptionally well. Often seen as a pest by farmers the fox has been hunted mercilessly for centuries, only in the last few years has a ban on fox hunting come into place.

Sporting a red coat and pale underbelly the fox will eat just about anything it can. In urban centres they can often be found raiding bins for left-overs while around farms they are notorious for killing and eating chickens. However, despite their reputation as a pest and a nuisance the fox remains one of the signature animals for the UK, symbolic of the country lifestyle as well as a city scavenger.

Falling into the same category as mid-sized mammals as foxes are badgers. Badgers are like a small bear/mole/dog type thing with a black and white striped head. Their bodies are grey and they live on a mix of plants and smaller animals. They are reclusive and shy animals that live in underground lairs called sets. Badgers will typically only venture forth at night and are not as brave as foxes. It is a rare sight to see a badger and sadly all that most people see of them are dead ones at the side of the road. Badgers do not venture into towns, preferring to live in forests and woods.

Similar to a badger but much smaller and more blind are moles. Moles live almost entirely underground, digging a network of tunnels. They eat worms and other grubs and insects. Because of their lifestyle they have evolved very large front limbs that are ideal for digging. Their eyesight is very bad as well. Moles are extremely hard to catch a glimpse of but evidence of their activity is evident in the mounds of earth that they leave behind when digging a new tunnel, often referred to as a molehill.

The most numerous of British mammals are rabbits and squirrels. Both grey and herbivorous these mammals can be found everywhere, especially in woods and forests. Because in the past Britain was almost entirely covered by woodland many of the creatures that live here are very well adapted to live in and around trees. The common grey squirrel actually replaced the native red squirrel a while back due to their ability to out-compete the reds in the new environments. Squirrels and rabbits are both rodents and are the most easily noticeable rodent here. If you are careful you’ll be able to see rats, mice and voles, although the latter are considerably harder to catch a glimpse of.

Because of such excessive city building the British Isles are home to very few wild large animals. There are millions of sheep and cows but they are all domesticated. In the New Forest and some other places there are many wild deer. Deer are like thinner cows with antlers. They thrive in more open areas and are one of the more visually striking animals living here. It’s not just about mammals though as the UK is home to many kinds of birds, almost all are black, grey or brown. The most famous British bird is the robin, traditionally used as a symbol of Christmas. The bird’s most obvious feature is its red breast.

While the animals one can find in Britain are not as exciting as places such as Brazil or Africa there are certainly a lot of interesting species here. What is interesting about the wildlife in the UK is how many species have adapted so well to urban environments. Foxes, seagulls, pigeons and rats have all done extremely well in towns and cities, showing just how adaptable life can be.

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