Wildlife on your doorstep

Hedgehogs

Image: phil Flickr

Our first visitor is a prickly one and travels in stealth and under the cover of darkness. Despite that, the hedgehog is one of autumns most recognisable animals and a frequent visitor to our hedgerows and gardens. Hedgehogs are not fussy eaters and enjoy anything from worms and slugs to more meaty treats as they embark on a foraging mission to eat as much as they can to build up body fat for the winter.  

Did you know...

Hedgehogs are the only British mammal with spines. Watch below as Martin Hughes-Games explains just how the hedgehog manages to turn itself into a spiney ball. 

Grey squirrels

Image: Paul Farnfield

This next cheeky chap will be one you're very familiar with. Unlike its much less common and more elusive red cousin, the grey squirrel can be seen all year round in woodlands, suburban parks and domestic gardens all over the UK and because they are most active during the day, it means we are much more likely to see them than some of the other more low key animals on our list.

Image: Maria Hiles

Did you know...

Despite being active all year round grey squirrels become much more noticeable in autumn due to the fact that some of their favourite snacks like acorns and hazelnuts are ready to pick from the trees or collect from the ground. What they don’t eat right away, they will bury in hiding places or ‘caches’ to be stored for winter.

Badgers

Image: Susan Noble

Perhaps the most secretive and elusive of the animals on our list is the urban badger. Badgers build ‘setts’ which are like underground tunnels and the urban badger will do this anywhere from graveyards, allotments, gardens, parks or playing fields. However, roads provide tricky obstacles for a badger and as such the urban badger will stick to a much smaller territory than its rural cousin.

Did you know...

Badgers are classed as carnivores, however they are known for their foraging and will eat a range of foods including worms, small mammals, berries, fruit and any human food they find or that’s been put out for them.

Urban fox

Image: John Crawford Flickr

Another shy animal that enjoys the food and shelter offered by our gardens is our bushy tailed friend, the fox. Foxes can be seen in both countryside and urban areas so depending on where you live, you may well have seen one. They are mostly nocturnal however, so it’s rare to see one during daylight.

Did you know...

The fox’s bushy tail (which represents about a third of its total body length) is one of its most valuable assets, providing a warm cover as the nights get colder through autumn and into winter.

Ladybirds

Image: Antony Cooper

Ladybirds are probably our smallest and most colourful visitors and will enter our gardens, homes and sheds during autumn to avoid the cold weather, so don't worry if you've seen one in your house and think it might be lost, it's simply looking for somewhere comfy to lay its head.

Did you know...

There are many species of ladybird in the UK, however the most abundant and fasting spreading is the Harlequin. Harlequin ladybirds have an even bigger appetite than some of our native species and will even eat other ladybirds such as the native 2-spot.

Spiders

Image: John Phelan Photography

If you are an arachnophobe look away now! You may have seen our next autumn arrival in the bath or scuttling across the living room floor - it is of course, the house spider. Just like us, house spiders look to the warmth and comfort of our homes as the weather gets colder and male house spiders use this opportunity to look for love as they go in search of a female. 

Did you know...

The biggest threat to house spiders is actually another spider that frequents our homes. The Pholcus phalangiodes (or daddy long legs) actually eats house spiders, so their mission for love in our homes can be a dangerous one.    

Birds

Image: Gidzy Flickr

As it gets colder and we start to look ahead to winter, the falling temperatures trigger mass migrations in many birds as some leave the UK for sunnier climates. Some birds on the other hand, travel to the UK from much colder regions such as Scandinavia, the Arctic and northern Europe to pass through or even spend the winter with us. Some common visitors to the UK include fieldfares, redwings, geese and swans.

Image: Paul Marfell

Did you know...

‘Passage migrants’ are birds that migrate to the UK, but only stop off for a few weeks to refuel and rest during their long migrations north or south. They use the UK like we use service stations on long car journeys.

Make sure you keep your eyes peeled throughout autumn and let us know which animals pay you a visit on their autumn adventures!

Your Comments

Join the conversation

This entry is now closed for comments.

1 comment
All Autumnwatch on CBBC
Looking for CBeebies shows?