New survey reveals the mysterious creatures living in your garden

Harry Bellew

Thursday 6 July 2017

• The RSPB is calling on people to get outside this summer to uncover the mysterious creatures that are living in their back gardens by taking part in the Wild Challenge.
• Latest wildlife survey shows that hedgehog, foxes and moles were among the most common creatures seen in gardens across the UK last year.
• Other species such as slow worm, grass snake, stag beetle and great crested newt were seen by a lucky few.

A new survey has revealed that hedgehogs, foxes and moles are among the most common creatures that are making their homes in back gardens across the UK, with the RSPB calling on people to get outside this summer to uncover the mysterious creatures that are living in their outdoor spaces.

Results from the survey of more than 139,000 UK gardens revealed that hedgehogs had been seen in over 60 per cent. Worryingly, one-quarter of gardens didn't record a sighting of the spiny mammal throughout the whole of last year. This pattern was apparent across all four countries, with the figure rising to around 30 per cent in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Moles spend most of their lives alone, either digging extensive networks of tunnels or hunting for food only occasionally coming to the surface. Unsurprisingly these elusive creatures escaped the gaze of the majority of participants, with close to half not recording a sighting of one or one of their more familiar mole hills. Great crested newts followed a similar pattern with the secretive reptile being spotted in only five per cent of lucky gardens.

Foxes were the most common visitor to gardens across the UK with one being recorded in 70 per cent of gardens, while other creatures like slow worm, grass snake and stag beetle were seen by far less.

Daniel Hayhow, RSPB Conservation Scientists, said: "Often the wildlife we see in our garden is the first experience we have with nature - whether it's a robin perched on the fence or a hedgehog snuffling around looking for its next meal. Unfortunately, the sights and sounds of wildlife that was once common to us are sadly becoming more mysterious to people.
"There are simple things we can all do to make our gardens perfect of wildlife. From creating a feeding station for birds or hedgehogs to digging a small pond to help amphibians, these easy activities can help turn your garden into a wildlife haven."

With the wildlife on people's doorsteps becoming increasingly mysterious to them, the RSPB is calling on families to spend more time outside this summer and reconnect with the nature that surrounds them by taking on the Wild Challenge.

By completing fun and engaging activities ranging from minibeast safaris and rock pooling to creating a hedgehog cafe and planting for wildlife, families can take their first steps on their own wild adventure. There are 24 activities to choose from that will take you from your own back garden to exploring towns, cities, woodlands and even the coast.

Paul Birmingham, RSPB Families Manager, said: "Getting outside and discovering nature is important whether your motivation is happy healthy children, memorable family time or to see our towns and countryside richer in nature. The opportunity to connect with nature should be a part of every child's life and the RSPB's Wild Challenge is here to help every family go on their own wild adventure."

The RSPB's ambition is for the Wild Challenge to help more families across the country reap the benefits of spending time outside in nature. Research has shown that children who have a healthy connection to nature are more likely to benefit from higher achievement at school, better mental and physical health, and develop stronger social skills.

To learn more about the RSPB Wild Challenge and to see how you can take your firsts steps on your own wildlife adventure, visit

Last Updated: Tuesday 28 August 2018

Tagged with: Country: England Country: UK Topic: Birds and wildlife Topic: Giving Nature a Home