Wild weather makes 2012 'Year of the Slug'

  • 27 December 2012
Slugs on allotment

This year's extreme weather has been "hugely challenging" for wildlife, says conservation charity National Trust.

Our driest spring in over 100 years was followed by the wettest April to June on record.

Some species such as bees, birds and bats have struggled, while others - like slugs and orchids - have thrived.

The National Trust's even nicknamed 2012 the 'Year of the Slug', after reports of a huge Spanish super slug invading our gardens.

We run though the National Trust's winners and the losers...


Image caption Seal pups had a great year
  • Slugs - The biggest winner by far is the slug. "Quite simply they like it warm and wet. It's been warm enough for them and certainly wet enough," said National Trust naturalist Matthew Oates.
  • Flowers - It's been a very good year for plant growth, and not just nettles and brambles but also wild British orchids. There were reports of of stunning flowering from all over England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Short-eared owls - They did much better than other bird species and have been called "the bird of the winter" by the National Trust.
  • Seals - It was fantastic year for seal pups, including the unusual birth of a set of twins!
  • Butterflies and dragonflies - The large tortoiseshell butterfly, which was thought to be extinct, was spotted on the Isle of Wight in March and more than 22 species of dragonflies were recorded in Kent.


  • Bees and wasps - "Flying insects need warmth to become active and it's been too cool for them," said Matthew Oates.
  • Mammals such as bats and badgers struggled to find food.
Image caption Bees had to be fed at the National Trust's Attingham Park in the West Midlands
  • Birds - Many nests were abandoned because of bad weather and lack of food.
  • Wetland animals - Water vole burrows and kingfisher holes were flooded by the rain.
  • Fruit blossoms - There was a 90% drop in apple crops in Dorset, and the wet spring meant there weren't many holly berries this Christmas!