Are you wild about Britain?

Chaos writes:

Living in suburban London, we are often oblivious to the wildlife that surrounds us, as the traffic rushes by, and we rush to school, late as ever!

8yo and I have been talking about wildlife a lot since we found out that the RSPCA have launched a new children’s short story competition – called Wild About Britain – as a celebration of British wildlife. Last week, I had a call from the school at lunchtime, to come and collect 8yo who was pale and poorly… we walked back home together, and away from the noisy main road he was rather reflective, and said ‘It’s so calm – with no car noise, and no-one around’ – so we walked quietly together listening to the songs of the birds, counting four different birds singing and chirping. As we walked into the house, and through to the back he was so delighted to see a fox, curled up asleep in the afternoon sun, on our shed roof!

(we opened the back door to take a photo, she saw us and scampered!… shame).

What is your best memory of Britain’s wildlife that you and your family have experienced together?

The RSPCA would like to encourage families to explore Britain’s wildlife. To inspire families to get involved, the RSPCA want to know what your favourite memories of Britain’s wildlife are. If you know a budding writer it’s their chance to put pen to paper and let their imaginations run wild.

From fascinating foxes and heroic hedgehogs to country lanes and woodlands, they want to hear about your experiences. All you need to do is add a comment to this post telling us about your favourite anecdote from Britain’s wildlife. And I’m giving away three RSPCA wildlife Bag for Life to my favourite posts.

Here are some weird and wonderful wildlife facts to get you thinking….

Have you ever seen a black fox? Fox cubs are often born blind and deaf with short back fur, they do not normally start to turn red until they are about five to six weeks old!

Have you heard a Robin singing in summer? Robins are actually one of the only UK birds to sing all year round. In autumn its song is more subdued and melancholy in tone compared with spring’s upbeat song.

Have you witnessed an owl climb? Tawny owlets are able to climb back up into the nest if they fall out. This hopping from perch to perch in trees is called ‘branching’.

Children under 16 can also enter their story into the Wild About Britain competition by visiting www.wildaboutbritain.org.uk and you can also tweet using the hashtag #wildaboutbritain.

Good luck!

Comments close midnight 9th December, a FREE RSPCA Bag for Life for the three favourite comments 🙂

23 Comments

  1. Anna Stickland

    When I was 12 years old I went away on Guide Camp for a week. One evening we were going for a short hike around the fields and came across two stags rutting! It was incredible and we were all speechless. We watched for a few minutes but they must have become aware of our presence and disappeared. One of the leaders had a video camera and caught the whole thing which was brilliant to share with our families when we returned home. I have never seen anything like it since.

    Reply
    1. chaos Author

      that’s amazing Anna, thanks for sharing – never seen anything like that myself…. they are fabulous creatures, I have many a happy memory of walking through Richmond Park in wonderment at their majesty!

      Reply
  2. Alison M

    Was on holiday with my parents and brother…must have been about 10yrs old. It was dark outside and my Dad went out to get something from the car. He had only been gone about 3 mins when he came racing into the guesthouse saying there was a fox in the garden and to come out. So, we all rushes out and sure enough there was a fox standing in the hedge…it didn’t move even though there must have been about 8 people by this time all crowded round…stood for about 5 minutes and it hadn’t moved a muscle so we all went inside convinced it was paralysed with fear and would take off as soon as we left.

    Next morning were about to head off when another guest came in saying it was STILL there! Out we all trails and yes, it’s standing in the exact same spot..so my Dad goes closer….closer…closer and is kneeling down in front of it..reaches out…and touches it then starts laughing.

    We’re all looking at him like he’s gone mad..then he picks it up!

    It’s a taxidermy display! The owner of the guesthouse swears that its nothing to do with him (which we believe as he was as excited about seeing a fox the night before as we were), none of the other guests own up and to this day, I never found out who was behind it though whoever the taxidermist was, they made a beautiful job of it as look so real!

    Reply
  3. catherine warburton

    We often have toads in the garden hopping between the flower beds they are so sweet so I try not to disturb them.

    Reply
    1. chaos Author

      thanks Catherine, never seen a toad in our garden, perhaps all of our urban foxes scare them away 🙂

      Reply
  4. Suzanne Cooke

    On our holiday in the scottish highlands we have had two amazing experiences that I will never forget. The first was a visit by a young lesser spotted woodpecker who rather enjoyed the nuts we put out for the wild birds. We kept very still for over an hour before he was brave enough to come close. The second a few days later was a very brave pine martin who came sauntering up the road, he did scarper when he saw us but we got a great look at him before he did.

    Reply
    1. chaos Author

      Wow – great experiences, thank you Suzanne, my mother has always encouraged the bird wildlife in her garden, and has bird posters up in the kitchen to inspire the grandchildren 🙂

      Reply
  5. Amy

    It has to be watching the foxs play in the bottom on the garden. We all watch from the patio windows at the four baby foxs play fight while the mum & dad sit and watch them play. It is so fascinating to watch!!

    Reply
  6. Alice Matthews

    My favourite wild life story comes from my teenage years when I lived on a remote Aberdeenshire croft. We had some very hard winters with snow so deep that it literally used to come up to the bellies of our Shetland ponies and lie for days on their backs without melting. We had some feral cats who used to sleep deep inside the hay bales in the barn in such cold weather. When they were hungry they would sit on the kitchen windowledge and tap it with their paw. One morning there was a straggly and hunched pheasant in the yard. When we took the cat food out, he looked so hungry that I got and extra bowl and gave him a mix of the grains we fed the goats. This became a morning routine. One Sunday I was later up and the pheasant had flown up to the window ledge alongside the cats. Gradually he got more confident (and plumper!) and would tap the window with his beak. If we looked out of the window early he could be seen making his way towards the house for breakfast. He stayed until late spring and then left us.

    Reply
    1. chaos Author

      how funny Alice, clever things…. We had a cat in our street (not ours) who used to jump up onto our front door knocker and wiggle it, looking through the door glass at us to let her in!

      clever things eh….

      Reply
  7. liz denial

    I rescued a baby hedgehog a few years ago & kept it over winter feeding it up so it would be strong enough to be released into the wild in spring. When the weather was warm enough I opened up the hutch so Spike, as I called him, could go off into the wild. The next day I checked the hutch to find that not only had he not gone but he had brought home a little friend. They lived together for a few months then Twiglet finally left but Spike stayed. He used to wander into the house if I left the door opened & he even tried to come on holiday with me by hiding in the middle of my bags which I had packed for the trip. My Mum looked after the house while I was away & got a shock one morning when Spike greeted her as she opened the door, He must have sneaked in the day before when she wasn’t looking. I moved house the following year while he was hibernating so I took him with me in his hutch. He fell asleep on a patio in Blackburn & awoke & probably thought he’d gone to hedgeghog heaven as he awoke in my lovely new woodland garden. He must have loved it as he went off on his travels & I never saw him again. I was a little sad but happy that he was having a woodland adventure

    Reply
    1. chaos Author

      What a cute story Liz, glad it had a happy ending, and little Spike went off into the woodland to have his own wildlife adventure, thank you for sharing that with us 🙂

      Reply
  8. when my son was 4 years old he loved the outdoors (still does )he was out playing in the garden i brought him in and got him ready for play school came back went into my lounge to find a frog jummping everywere i shut the door and did not enter there again till my little boy came home and put him back outside

    Reply
    1. chaos Author

      how funny! We never see any frogs or toads in our garden 🙁 let alone in our sitting room!!
      thanks Christine 🙂

      Reply
  9. Joanne B

    We have several pet hens, but no rooster. Earlier in the year one of the hens was broody so we collected some fertile eggs from a friend and let her sit on them. The children were fascinated when 3wks later a small fluffy head peeked out from under Birdie. There were 6 little chicks in total, all grown up now & just a big as ‘mum’ 🙂

    Reply
  10. Peter Hopkins

    I have so many storys to share only 1 of all the wildlife I have seen growing up In Gloucestershire. But what I will say is for everyone to keep your eyes open, you will be surprised what is right under your nose.

    Reply
  11. Wendy Tolhurst

    A couple of years ago my daughter and I went up to a neighbours garage (we have about 10 garages in a block). Where the door was broken and had been left open, a hedgehog had made a nest and was tucked up in the corner of the garage, along with two babies! Have never come so close to hedgehogs except at a rescue centre before.

    Reply
  12. Annamarie Riddiford

    The most interesting thing I ever saw, was a wasp cutting a piece of chicken from a carcass which I had put on the lawn. It then held the piece of chicken which was about 1cm across, in its legs and flew away with it. It kept rising and falling like a helicopter as it was clearly very heavy.

    I have never seen anything like this before or since, and have not heard that anyone else has done so.

    Thank you for running such a great competition.

    Reply
  13. dorothy.mcdowell@ntlworld.com

    watching a fox in the garden of our holiday cottage. After a lifetime in the city this was a magical moment

    Reply

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