The UK is famous for a number of reasons, but its wildlife doesn’t often make it to the top of the list. Sure, you might not see giant bears or ferocious wolves roaming around the woods. But adorable owls, cute squirrels and even feline predators still call the UK their home. And many of them are native to the British Isles.
So, besides badgers, urban foxes and the odd mouse, what wild animals do you need to see at least once in the UK? In no order of preference, here are some of our favourites cute British animals.
Let’s kick off our list with a creature that’s so undeniably cute that you’d just love to take one home (but please, don’t). The red squirrel, characterised by its distinctive coat, is dwindling in numbers, largely thanks to its larger cousin, the grey squirrel. However, you can still see these adorable critters roaming around woodlands and pine forests, particularly in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
If you’re confined to England, you might be lucky enough to spot a red squirrel while exploring the extensive forests of the Lake District and Northumberland. Don’t get too close, and don’t move too quickly. Red squirrels are easily startled, but far from easy to keep track of.
The curlew is the largest wading bird in Europe, easily recognisable thanks to its long and thin beak that curves downwards, perfect for munching on shellfish, shrimps and worms. You’re most likely to see a curlew in winter, though you might spot them during summer in the woodlands. They usually hang around the coast looking for food. The largest populations are found near the Severn, Dee, Thames and Humber estuaries as well as the Solway Firth and Morecambe Bay.
The little owl is perhaps the cutest bird that’s native to the UK, though that’s obviously up for debate. The first recorded sightings of little owls were during the 19th century, though nowadays, their population is in decline. Still, if you’re lucky, you can see them throughout the nation during the day resting on tree branches, rocks and fences.
Who knew that a seal species was native to the UK? Well, the grey seal calls Great Britain its home. And, as you might expect, you’ve got the best chance of spotting them near the coast. It’s the nation’s largest breeding mammal, and it truly has to be seen to be believed. To see one for yourself, we recommend heading to the Orkney Islands in Scotland. Other locations include the Farne Islands, Skomer Island and Blakeney Point in Norfolk.
Let’s finish our list with something truly amazing. Believe it or not, Scotland is home to a type of wildcat, a predator that mostly feeds on voles and rabbits. These amazing feline spectacles have been in the UK far longer than humans, and we can’t deny that finding them in the wild is a tad challenging. They usually live and hunt alone, only living in units during the mating season. However, you’ll likely see a few by visiting Highland Wildlife Park along the Woodland Walk. If you don’t spot one, you can get close to them by visiting the special breeding area.