England is a land steeped in history and culture, full of iconic landmarks, idyllic villages, breathtaking lakes and peaks, and a thriving sports and music scene. It’s also home to a diverse spectrum of wildlife. From its vibrant cityscapes to its charming countryside, England offers a habitat for a variety of animals to settle down in. In this blog post, you’ll discover 5 iconic animals of England.
First up is the famous British fox, which is an everyday animal that you will see in England. Foxes are known for their striking fiery red fur and wild bushy tail, often with a distinctive white tip at the end. They’re also known for their sly and cunning nature, which has earned them a spot in English folklore.
What makes foxes quintessentially English is that they’re found all through England, from the idyllic countryside lanes to the bustling inner-city areas. When it comes to their diet, foxes are opportunistic omnivores. They’ll eat anything from scavenged leftovers and canned dog food to fresh fruit and small rodents and rabbits.
In England, foxes are nowhere near threatened. Their number coupled with their tendency to tip bins over and have midnight feasts in vegetable gardens, mean that foxes are regarded by many as pests. Conversely (and strangely!), in other areas of the world foxes are kept as pets, but it’s not a good idea to keep foxes as pets at all.
Next up is the squirrel. Two types of squirrel call England ‘home’, the red squirrel, and the gray squirrel. As you may have guessed, the red squirrel is red and boasts a thick coat of russet-colored fur with distinctive ear tufts. Gray squirrels vary in color from pale gray to black and their tail features bands of colors with a white tip at the end.
Red squirrels are native to England and are incredibly dear to British people thanks to their iconic depiction in Beatrix Potter’s Squirrel Nutkin story. You’ll find squirrels in forests and woodlands across the country, particularly in northern England. Gray squirrels are an invasive species that is native to North America but has established itself all over England.
Nuts, seeds, berries, plants, flowers, and fungi make up the squirrel’s diet. Plenty of gray squirrels live in England, but sadly this – as well as general habitat loss -- has led to the red squirrel becoming threatened. Efforts are being made to protect red squirrel populations.
Hedgehogs are small, spiky, slightly smelly, and super cute. They’re known for curling up into a ball when they feel threatened, and this visible display of vulnerability has ensured they have a very special spot in English people’s hearts – and gardens!
These adorable nocturnal creatures are found in parks, woodlands, farmland, and gardens all over England. Outside of England, where it is against the law to own hedgehogs, they’re considered exotic animals that make great pets.
Hedgehogs feast on insects, earthworms, slugs, and other small invertebrates. In urban areas, they are also known to eat dry cat food left out by well-meaning humans. Unfortunately, England’s hedgehog population is declining due to road mortality, habitat loss, and exposure to pesticides but they’re not classed as endangered – yet. They are however protected by British law, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
The largest land predator in England, the badger is one of the most well-known creatures in the country. Badgers are the black and white-faced underground architects who are known for building complex burrows called setts, digging up vast amounts of dirt in search of food, and for their hugely territorial natures. Though they aren’t considered as one of the world’s most aggressive animals, they are up there with the fiercest of the bunch.
Badgers live all over England, with the bulk of their numbers found in southern England. They prefer open country and woodland areas and are a common tenant on farmlands. In suburban areas, it’s not uncommon for badgers to create their sets near barns and sheds, or under patios and decks.
Up to 80% of a badger’s diet is made up of earthworms. Squirmy snacks aside, badgers also eat fruit, nuts, plants, eggs, and other small mammals.
And last, but by no means least, is the deer. Six deer species live in England, being the red deer, Muntjac deer, fallow deer, silka deer, Chinese water deer, and roe deer.
Different deer inhabit different areas of England. Basically, any rural and semi-urban areas where there are plenty of woodlands, grasslands, and moorlands. Roe deer are the most common deer in England, with great numbers of them living throughout mainland Britain, with a concentration in southern England.
Deer are herbivores and spend their days grazing on grass, leaves, plant shoots, and wild berries. Thankfully, all six deer species found in England are classed as animals of Least Concern and are not considered endangered or in threat.