The United Kingdom is blessed with a mild climate that never lacks for moisture, and as a result the animal species there have come to depend on a never-failing supply of food. The uniquely moderate climate of the British Isles comes both from its island status and by its favorable position as the recipient of warm water from the Gulf Stream.
This moderate UK weather is a double edged sword in that its native animals, accustomed as they are to abundant food supplies and mild temperatures, are hit hard by the rare weather extremes that occasionally hit the island nation. Changes in weather patterns send new species, particularly birds, to settle in the UK where they not only compete for food sources but also carry diseases unknown to native species.
In addition, alien animal and plant species thrive to the detriment of native species. Non-native animals do not just arrive by accident but are sometimes purposely introduced by humans. For, instance, the only species of squirrel native to the British Isles, the Red Squirrel
(Sciurus Vulgaris), has been declining due to the introduction of the American Grey Squirrel in 1876. In addition to the red squirrel, other native mammalian species include the stout, weasel, Eurasian Badger
, Scottish Reindeer, Eurasian Otter, Small Wild Cat
and field mouse. The large rabbit population is not native but was introduced and naturally multiplied.
Woodlands, meadows, wetlands, and heath are naturally occurring habitats in the UK. England's wetlands are especially important for the breeding of seabirds, wildfowl and wintering waders; almost 20 percent of the Atlantic/North Sea estuaries for Europe are found in England. The country also shelters a large population of bats. Besides its native species of birds, which include several members of the Shearwater family and several varieties of Puffins
which belonging to the Auk family, many bird species visit the UK during migration; this making the UK a bird watchers paradise.
Although the United Kingdom is home to many varieties of amphibians, the island nation's damp cool weather is generally not a reptile friendly environment. While there are only 3 species of snake that call it home: the Adder, the Grass Snake
and the Smooth Snake, there are a number of native species of lizard.