Bats – there are a number of species of Bats that are present in the UK and they are all protected. The most common Bat in the UK is the Common Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus).
Butterflies – We have all heard recently how the changes in the weather are causing problems for butterfly species in the UK but there is only one species that is protected under European legislation. This is the Large Blue (Maculinea arion), and what a magnificent animal it is.
Wild Cat (Felix silvestris) – One of the UKs most endangered species with population estimates of approximately 400 pure Wild Cat individuals left in the wild. Their strong hold in Northern Scotland. The largest threat to the Wild Cat is continued hybridisation with the domestic cat.
Cetacea – this group covers all Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises. There are a fair few species that frequent UK waters but the most common include the Harbour Porpoise, Bottlenose Dolphins, Common Dolphin and the Minke Whale.
Dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) – Also called the Hazel Dormouse due to its love of Hazelnuts as a food source. These cute little animals live predominantly in the south of England and Wales so you will struggle to see one up here in Yorkshire.
Sand Lizard (Lacerta agilis) – This is Britain’s only egg laying lizard which makes its home on heaths and sand dunes. The males of this species turn bright green during the breeding season making them much easier to see.
Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus) – Great Crested Newts are one of the most famous European protected speices in the UK. This is because the conditions in the UK are very good for the newts and they have developed a strong hold in the UK. Their yellow belly with black spots is very distinctive.
Common Otter (Lutra lutra) – This mammal is excellently adapted to spending time in the water with very thick fur for insulation and webbed feet and a strong tail to aid with swimming. The numbers of these species are slowly increasing in the UK.
Smooth Snake (Coronella austriaca) – one of 3 species of snake that inhabit the UK. The smooth snake is the rarest of the 3 but thankfully it isn’t venomous!
Sturgeon (Acipenser sturio) – sturgeon used to be common in UK waters but are now rarely found. They are similar to salmon in that they use both freshwater and marine environments, only returning to freshwater habitats to spawn.
Natterjack Toad (Bufo calamita) – I think this animal gets the award for the ugliest protected species in the UK. What do you think?
Marine Turtles – All marine turtles are protected but the one you are most likely to see from the UK is the Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea). The Marine Conservation Society want to record all the UK sightings of Leatherbacks so if you see one please add it to their sightings register.
All of these animals are amazing in their own way. Let us know which is your favourite!