New survey reveals the mysterious creatures living in your garden

New survey reveals the mysterious creatures living in your garden

A new survey has revealed that hedgehogs, foxes and moles are among the most common creatures that are making their homes in back gardens

photo: Tobilander

The RSPB is calling on people to get outside this summer to uncover the mysterious creatures that are living in their outdoor spaces.

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• The RSPB is calling on people to get outside this summer to uncover the mysterious creatures that are living in their back gardens by taking part in the Wild Challenge.

• Latest wildlife survey shows that hedgehog, foxes and moles were among the most common creatures seen in gardens across the UK last year.

• Other species such as slow worm, grass snake, stag beetle and great crested newt were seen by a lucky few.

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Results from the survey of more than 139,000 UK gardens revealed that hedgehogs had been seen in over 60 per cent. Worryingly, one-quarter of gardens didn’t record a sighting of the spiny mammal throughout the whole of last year. This pattern was apparent across all four countries, with the figure rising to around 30 per cent in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Moles spend most of their lives alone, either digging extensive networks of tunnels or hunting for food only occasionally coming to the surface. Unsurprisingly these elusive creatures escaped the gaze of the majority of participants, with close to half not recording a sighting of one or one of their more familiar mole hills. Great crested newts followed a similar pattern with the secretive reptile being spotted in only five per cent of lucky gardens.

Foxes were the most common visitor to gardens across the UK with one being recorded in 70 per cent of gardens, while other creatures like slow worm, grass snake and stag beetle were seen by far less.

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With the wildlife on people’s doorsteps becoming increasingly mysterious to them, the RSPB is calling on families to spend more time outside this summer and reconnect with the nature that surrounds them by taking on the Wild Challenge.

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By completing fun and engaging activities ranging from minibeast safaris and rock pooling to creating a hedgehog cafe and planting for wildlife, families can take their first steps on their own wild adventure. There are 24 activities to choose from that will take you from your own back garden to exploring towns, cities, woodlands and even the coast.

The RSPB’s ambition is for the Wild Challenge to help more families across the country reap the benefits of spending time outside in nature. Research has shown that children who have a healthy connection to nature are more likely to benefit from higher achievement at school, better mental and physical health, and develop stronger social skills. To learn more about the RSPB Wild Challenge and to see how you can take your firsts steps on your own wildlife adventure.

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Steve Ott

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