Elephant hawk moth

Look at the moths we found!

Moths are some of the most interesting, beautiful creatures that are probably lurking in your garden right now! Watch our video to learn more about them.

Check out our moths!

Bex is an ecologist for the RSPB. She is very keen on moths and in this video she looks at moths she has found in her garden in Sandy, Bedfordshire.

Hi! I’m Bex. I’m one of the ecologists at the RSPB. Today, I’m going to talk to you about moths and mothing and moth trapping, and some of the amazing variety of moths that you can find in your garden. Big Wild Sleepout is all about the hidden world of animals that are round and about at night and hopefully in this video we’re going to show you some of the things that you might see round and about in your own garden. 

(Bex shows the moth trap she uses. It’s a large wooden box with egg boxes inside and slanted glass panels. These glass panels enable the moths to fly in but not so easily fly out. At the top is a large light bulb.) So this is the kind of trap I use and lots of others moth trappers across the country use. We’ve used here a powerful light to attract moths in, but you don’t need to have special equipment just like this. You can just go out at night with a torch, or if you’ve got a big old white bed sheet or something that you can hang up outside near a powerful light or shine a powerful torch on, you can just as easily find moths that way as well. 

So I had this trap out in my garden last night. We’re going to take a look now and I’m really excited to see what we’ve got. 

(Camera focuses on Bex bringing out egg box with moths on it.) So you get moths in all sorts of different sizes, shapes, colours, varieties. Let’s have a gander to see what’s on this one. 

(The egg box has 8 moths on it of various shades of brown and different sizes. Bex points at a moth with patterned brown wings.) Ooh. We’ve got here buff arches with beautiful patterning. Some people say it looks a bit like toffee or I always think it’s got a sort of flinty look to it. 

(Focus switched to different moths on a different egg box: a large privet hawk moth and a tiny yellow micro moth.) There’s around two and half thousand moth species in the UK and they come in a whole range of different sizes. Everything from this tiny yellow micro moth you can see here on the right to this enormous privet hawk moth.

(Camera pans out to show Bex holding another egg box, with a peppered moth on it.) This is a peppered moth. (Camera focuses on moth so it’s black and white colouring is clearly visible.) These moths are really good for looking at how clean or dirty the air is, around cities and towns. So in places where there’s lots of smog and lots of soot on trees, these become quite dark so they can blend in with the trees but round here there’s lots and lots of nice clean air so this is a nice paler version of a peppered moth. 

(Camera focuses on Bex holding a birch twig with a moth that is very well camouflaged on it.) Some moths are masters of mimicry and disguise. This is great example. This is a buff tip moth. (Camera focuses on the moth and twig.) And as you can see, it’s camouflaged so that its ends look like the broken ends of a twig. 


(Bex is now holding another moth on an egg box.) This is a spectacle moth. (Camera focuses on the moth. It is brown with parts on its head that look like goggles.) And as you can see if you look at the very front of its head, it’s got a pair of almost like flying goggles, hence its name, the spectacle. 

(The camera now shows a close up of a black and white moth with what looks like a smiley emoji on it). Look at the smiley face on the back of this black arches moth. 

(Camera now shows two large moths on Bex’s hands – a poplar hawk moth and an elephant hawk moth.) Some of the most spectacular moths you might get in the garden are the hawk moths. So here we have a poplar hawk moth, the grey one here, and then this amazing green and pink one is an elephant hawk moth. So it clearly doesn’t look like an elephant, but its caterpillars look like an elephant’s trunk. 

(Camera then pans out to show Bex holding an elephant hawk moth which is vibrating its wings.) Look at how this moth is shaking! (Camera focuses on close-up of moth shaking its wings.) Some of these moths have got really, really large bodies so they need to warm up their flight muscles before they can take off. (Moth flies off.)

(Camera switches to Bex in her garden.) So that was just a very small taster of some of the moths that you might see while you’re doing Big Wild Sleepout. What will you find?

Check out our moths video screenshot