February 8th, 2023
Wildlife is probably the last thing that England is famous for.
Although it doesn't house wildly exotic or poisonous animals, it is definitely desrves a bit more appreciation.
Red deer are a native species having migrated to Britain from Europe 11,000 years ago.
They were used extensively by Mesolithic man as a source of food, skins, and tools (bones and antlers).
The stag’s antlers are the species most distinguishing feature.
They are highly branched, and the branches increase with age with multiple points on each antler.
Upon inspection you’ll see how they got their scientific name Halichoerus grypus – it means hook-nosed sea pig
Grey seals usually come ashore to breed from late September until December.
Seals regularly ‘haul out’ to digest their food or rest, so if you meet one on a beach, give it plenty of space and keep dogs away.
They give birth to a single pup which the mother sniffs to learn its scent.
Despite their similar appearances, porcupines and hedgehogs are surprisingly not closely related.
Unlike porcupines, hedgehog quills are not easily detached from their bodies.
When in danger, the hedgehog rolls into a ball so that the quills cover the entire area of their exposed body and protects the animal from predators.
(Sadly) it's a myth that they can roll while curled into a ball.
The Basking Shark is the second largest species of extant shark, only smaller than the Whale Shark in overall size.
Like whale sharks, basking sharks are filter feeders that grow to enormous size while eating the ocean’s smallest organisms!
With a jaw that can be 3 feet wide, basking sharks may look intimidating.
However, they are not known to be aggressive or dangerous, and will often circle groups of snorkelers and divers calmly.