Britain’s cutest animals and where to see them

Friday 30 September 2016

Britain is home to some pretty adorable critters; some you may not have even heard of but all of them very easy to fall in love with. Here are some of our favourite of Britain’s furry and feathered friends, plus tips on where and how to spot them.

Roe deer

Baby roe deer

Credit: Arterra Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo

Roe deer are Britain’s most common type of deer, smaller than others and with a gingery-red coat in summer and grey-brown in winter. The males have short little antlers. You are likely to come across one hopping in your path on a countryside, woodland or heathland walk in England and Scotland.

How to see them: 
A good spot for seeing roe deer in the wild is New Forest National Park. Roe deer can be seen throughout the year and are most active at night, dusk and dawn. Look out for stripped areas of bark on trees or shrubs, which are made by a male deer as he rubs the bark with his antlers in order to leave his scent behind.

Pine martens

Pine martens

The pine marten is a close cousin of otters and weasels. With glossy reddish brown fur, a distinctive yellow bib on its chest and a long fluffy tail, this cheeky animal is roughly the same size as a domestic cat and spends most of its time in the trees. 

How to see them: 
They’re mostly found in Scotland, so much so that guests staying at the Forest Holidays’ site in Strathyre are often visited by curious pine martens. The pine marten is active throughout the year. You’ll likely see them at dusk, racing along branches and leaping from tree to tree, or maybe they’ll visit your cabin...

Watch pine martens in action:

Red squirrel

Red squirrel

Britain’s original squirrel before the grey squirrel took over, the red squirrel is much smaller and cuter. But do not fear – the red squirrel can still be found on Brownsea Island, off the coast of Dorset, and the Isle of Wight, where the greys didn’t manage to reach. Cute reds can also be spotted in the Lake District, Gibside, Tyne and Wear and in Scotland.

How to see them: 
The best time to spot a red squirrel is during autumn when there are fewer leaves on the trees and as they gather food ahead of winter. They are also drawn to garden bird feeders.

Fair Isle wren

Fair Isle wren

Credit: Cultura Creative (RF) / Alamy Stock

The Fair Isle Wren is a subspecies of wren that is only found on Fair Isle in Scotland. With a population of only 55 people, Fair Isle is Britain’s most remote inhabited island in the British Isles so is a haven for wildlife and wildlife spotters! You’ll also be able to spot puffins, razorbills and guillemots here.

How to see them: 
Fair Isle Wrens can be spotted all year around and breed only on the boulder beaches on the island.

Skomer vole

Skomer vole

Credit: Mike Lane / Alamy Stock Photo

Similar to the Fair Isle wren, the Skomer vole takes its name from the only place where it can be found – on Skomer Island off the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales. Skomer Island is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and is a Marine Nature Reserve. There are just 4 mammalian species found on the island, of which there are at least 20,000 resident Skomer voles. 

How to see them:
Skomer voles are active 24 hours a day with regular resting periods. Keep an eye out for one running across the path or among the bracken on the island.

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