Can You Identify These Animals That Are Native to the UK?

Jacqueline Samaroo

Image: Daniel Hernanz Ramos / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Animal lovers, get ready! Here are some magnificent examples of the abundance of fauna throughout the UK!

An amazing array of birds can be found all over the United Kingdom. Some are there year-round while other are seasonal visitors who make the UK their breeding ground or winter home. Many are quite distinct with brightly colored beaks, feet or feathers, while others are noted for their size or their peculiar behavior. The UK's collection of feathered friends certainly provides bird watchers with all the eye candy they need!

Plenty of reptiles and amphibians also call the UK home.  They can be found in wooded areas, grassland, near pools and rivers, as well as on several of the outlying islands. Speaking of which, it is remarkable how different species and subspecies of animals on these islands have developed over the course of millennia in their relative isolation.

Some of the species have been named for the islands they inhabit. Can you think of any examples of them? Some are waiting in the quiz. See if you can find them!

Zoologists could fly through this quiz with the greatest of ease, but you don't have to be one to completely ace it. Prove your love and knowledge of all things wild in UK - start the quiz, now!

Can you name this animal which enjoys soaring and gliding?

The golden eagle is the second largest bird of prey in the UK after the white-tailed eagle. A pair of golden eagles will mate for life, and estimates say there are over 400 breeding pairs of golden eagles in the UK. Instead of building new nests, generations of golden eagle have been known to reuse nests.

Which animal also known as the Highlands tiger is shown here?

The UK was home to lions and lynxes thousands of years ago, but these have since become extinct. The only remaining indigenous wild feline in the UK is the Scottish wildcat, and it is now at risk of becoming an endangered species. Among the risks to its existence are overhunting by humans, loss of habitat and interbreeding with the domestic cat (or hybridization).

Can you identify this animal by its narrow pointed snout?

As its name might suggest, the common shrew is one of the most abundant mammals in Britain. Its features account for many people mistakenly calling it a rodent, but the common shrew is actually a close relative of moles and hedgehogs. It is no more closely related to a mouse than it is to humans!

Which animal named for the bands along its body is shown here?

The barred grass snake made headlines in August 2017, when it was recognized by a team of international scientists as a separate species of snake. It is a nonvenomous snake, whose diet is primarily made up of amphibians, such as frogs and newts.

Which animal named for a Scottish island is shown here?

The Fair Isle wren is found on the island of Fair Isle in Scotland. It is regarded as a sub-species of wren, with unique characteristics attributed to its relative isolation from the general wren population. The Fair Isle wren population is quite small, with some estimates placing it at between 10 and 50 birds.

Which animal, often mistaken for a sea serpent, is shown here?

The basking shark is notable for being one of the largest sharks in the world; second only to the whale shark. Due to excessive hunting by humans, it currently has a “vulnerable species” conservation status.

Which animal distinguished by its long beak is shown here?

The long, downcurved bill of the curlew is one easy way to recognize the largest of Europe’s wading birds. While wading in the UK coastline, the curlew feeds on shellfish, shrimp and worms.

Can you identify the croaking amphibian in this image?

The natterjack toad is primarily found in the western reaches of mainland Europe. It was historically found throughout the British Isles as well, but is now severely threatened and restricted to select coastal regions.

What is the name of this legless relative of the snake?

The slow worm is neither a worm (as suggested by its name) nor a snake (as suggested by its appearance). It is, in fact, a species of legless lizard. The slow worm has one of the longest lifespans among lizards and can live up to 30 years in its natural habitat.

Which spiky garden visitor is shown in this photo?

The European hedgehog is Britain’s only spiky mammal. Throughout its entire range, it is listed as a species of least concern in terms of conservation. Its existence in Great Britain, however, is highly threatened as the total number there is falling rapidly.

Can you name this animal which is often seen atop telegraph poles?

Most of the UK’s little owl population can be found in certain regions of England and Wales in lowland farmland, parkland and orchards. It is not uncommon to see this small bird perched on top of telegraph poles, or on rocks and tree branches.

Do you recognize this animal, which is also known as a harvestman?

Daddy long legs is the name that is given to a diverse family of spiders which have thin, long legs in contrast to their relatively tiny bodies. While they are plentiful in Europe, they can actually be found living in every continent (except Antarctica).

Which animal named for the jagged line down its back is shown here?

The great crested newt is a species of amphibian that can be found throughout Europe and the western reaches of Asia. It is sometimes referred to as the warty newt or the northern crested newt.

Which close relative of otters and weasels is shown in this photo?

More specifically known as the European pine marten, this small mammal can be found throughout Europe and parts of Western Asia. They are omnivorous; feeding on fruits in addition to birds, insects and smaller mammals.

What is the name of this widespread grazing animal?

The red deer’s range runs throughout most of Europe, as well as also parts of Asia and the Caucasus Mountains. They are culturally significant in Europe, being featured in European cave art and highly sought after in medieval hunting.

Can you name the island rodent shown in this photo?

The Orkney vole is named for its home on the Orkney Islands, off the coast of Scotland. It is a type of common vole but it is found only on the Orkney Islands and has developed some unique characteristics. These include having shorter, paler fur and a larger size than the common vole populations found elsewhere.

Do you recognize the wetland inhabitant in this photo?

The water rail is somewhat similar to the moorhen but with a smaller, slimmer build. Its largest populations are in eastern England, but the water rail may be difficult to spot as it is shy bird which prefers thick vegetation to open areas.

What is the name of this stocky, short-legged reptile?

The sand lizard is mostly active during the daytime. It is primarily a meat-eater, preying on spiders, grasshoppers and other insects. The sand lizard uses its burrow as a refuge from its main predators: cats, birds, dogs and foxes.

What is the name of this wart-covered jumper?

This species of amphibian is also known simply as the “toad” in certain parts of Europe, as well as the “European toad” in other parts of the world. They are widespread throughout Europe but also have notable populations existing in Asia and Northwest Africa.

Which member of the Rodentia order of animals is shown here?

The Skomer vole is native to the island of Skomer off the coast of Wales, where its population is around 30,000. It has developed in relative isolation from other bank moles and is, on average, larger than they are. The Skomer vole is prey to a variety of birds, especially the short-eared owl.

What is the name of the aquatic animal in this image?

Schelly is the name that is given to a species of freshwater fish considered to be a part of the salmon family. They are currently endangered and are primarily found in England, although minor populations are thought to exist elsewhere.

Which water-loving animal is shown here?

The grey seal is a semi aquatic carnivore that can be found on shores that are washed by the North Atlantic (Canada, the UK and Nordic Europe). They are notable for being popular circus animals throughout history, performing balancing acts and water-based feats.

What is the name of this creepy crawly creature?

The giant house spider is a massive species of spider that can be found throughout most of Europe. While they may look fearsome, it has been proven that their bite does not pose any lasting harm to humans or common household pets.

Do you know the name of the amphibious animal shown here?

Also known as the common newt, this species of amphibian is one of the most commonly seen newts in Europe. It has also managed to spread to Australia and is considered to be an invasive species there.

Which woodland resident is shown in this photo?

The UK’s population of tawny owls inhabits mainly woodland areas in England, Wales and Scotland. The tawny owl tends to mate for life and pairs are known to remain in their established territories. Around 50, 000 pairs of tawny owl are thought to be in the UK.

Which venomous but shy animal is shown in this image?

There are only 4 species of snake in Britain and of these, the European adder is the only venomous one. They are typically brown (females) and gray (males) but there are some European adders which are melanistic or black.

Can you name this animal whose tail is more than half its body length?

The hazel dormouse has the distinction of being the British Isles’ only native dormouse. It has existed in there for over 10 000 years, but has recently seen a decline in its numbers due, in part, to loss of habitat.

Can you correctly identify this tree-dwelling animal?

The red squirrel is a common sight throughout most of Europe, but its range stretches to the northern reaches of Asia (Siberia, etc.). As a reference to this, it is oftentimes called the Eurasian red squirrel.

Which animal, easily identified by its colorful bill, is shown here?

Brightly colored webbed feet and bill help the Atlantic puffin to stand out against the landscape. The species, which is listed as vulnerable and at risk of becoming endangered, can be found at a few sites in the UK.

Do you know the name of this burrowing animal?

The wood mouse (or long-tailed field mouse) is the most common mouse throughout the British countryside. It eats seeds, nuts, insects and larvae but has to be on the lookout for its own predators, which include foxes, weasels, cats and owls.

Can you identify the hopping amphibian shown here?

There are only two species of frog which are native to Britain: the pool frog and the common frog. The pool frog was once thought to be extinct and is now fully protected by laws in the UK. It is, therefore, illegal to harm or kill them at any stage of their life cycle, or to damage their habitat.

Can you name this animal which dines on mussels and cockles?

The Eurasian oystercatcher is a large wading bird. In the UK, it breeds mainly along the coast where it feeds on cockles and mussels, using its broad orange-red bill to get inside the shells.

Can you correctly identify this aptly named arthropod?

This spider gets its fitting name from is distinct coloration which resembles the stripes of the zebra. They also don’t build webs (a behavior that is shared with other jumping spiders) instead opting to stalk their prey and attack it.

Can you identify this animal named for a Scottish island?

When the human population left St. Kilda on Aug. 29, 1930, it was the perfect opportunity for the island’s field mouse population to thrive. The St. Kilda field mouse is now regarded as a distinct subspecies of field mice and endemic to the island. St. Kilda is also home to a large colony of Atlantic puffins, as well as a unique subspecies of wren.

Do you know the name of this gigantic aquatic animal?

The fin whale is a massive marine mammal. It is generally found in oceans throughout the world with a notable population frequenting European waters. Fin whales have historically been the target of whalers, a factor that has now contributed to their current vulnerable conservation status.

Do you recognize this close relative of the goose?

The common shelduck belongs to the same family of waterfowl as the duck, goose and swan. In terms of size, it is smaller than a goose but bigger than a duck. The common shelduck is easily recognized by its color pattern of feathers which include dark green on both the head and neck.

Which slithering animal with glossy scales is this?

The smooth snake feeds primarily on lizards but will also eat other small vertebrates and insects. It is nonvenomous and one of only four snakes which are native to Britain.

Can you identify this close relative of the black-footed ferret?

The European polecat is a nocturnal meat-eater from the same family as ferrets, badgers, minks and otters. Its name, “polecat,” is thought to come from the French words for “chicken cat” and to refer to the fact that the Eurasian polecat’s diet includes a large variety of birds, including chickens.

Do you know the name of this iconic grazing animal?

The roe deer is notable for being one of the most common species of deer making its home in Europe. The famous fictional deer Bambi was actually originally a roe deer. When the story was revised for the silver screen, however, he was changed to a mule deer.

Can you identify this animal which makes use of echolocation?

The serotine bat is also referred to as the big brown bat, evening bat and silky bat. It is a relatively large bat which hunts aerial prey, catching them in midair. It is one of the types of bats which make use of echolocation.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes