The United Kingdom, also known as Great Britain, is an island nation that is found off of the coast of Northwestern Europe. This article will discuss some of the native mammals of the country. We will also look into some of these mammals' physical characteristics, diets, habitats and ranges, current conservation statuses, and the major threats that they face.
The Barbastelle, scientific name Barbastella barbastellus, is a species of bat that is a member of the Vespertilionidae Family of vesper bats. Adults of this species grow to be between 45 to 58 millimeters (1.77 to 2.28 inches) in length and weight between 6 to 13.5 grams (0.21 to 0.47 ounces). The species has dark brown to black colored fur that is long and silky with white colored tips. The wingspan on the bat is between 260 to 290 millimeters (10.23 to 11.41 inches) and the wings are a grey-brown or black brown color. This species habitat is in mature woodlands and woodland edges, where it roosts in the splits or loose bark of old growth, damaged or dead trees. It has also been known to roost in old buildings and underground tunnels. This species diet is mostly made up of large moths, although it also eats small flies, spiders and other small insects. The species is most found in central and southern Europe, although its range does extended into Morocco, as well as Turkey, the Caucasus countries, Iran and of course the United Kingdom and Ireland. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) the Barbastelle has been listed as a near threatened species since 2008 and its current population trend has been decreasing. The major threats that this species faces are from the loss and disturbance of its habitat, whether they are trees, underground tunnels or old buildings, from infrastructure development, forestry and building renovation or demolition. The species has also gone regionally extinct in the Netherlands and may also be extinct in Belgium.
The Grey Seal, scientific name Halichoerus grypus, is a species of seal that is a member of the Phocidae Family of true seals. Adults of the species in the eastern Atlantic that would be found in the United Kingdom are often much smaller than their western Atlantic counterparts. An adult male is usually 2.5 to 3.3 meters (8.2 to 10.8 feet) in length and weight around 170 to 310 kilograms (370 to 680 pounds). Adult females are smaller usually being between 1.6 to 2.0 meters (5.2 to 6.6 feet) long and weighting around 100 to 190 kilograms (220 to 420 pounds). Males of the species have larger noses, a less curved profile and are usually darker in color with lighter colored patches, while females are silver grey to brown in color with dark patches. In the United Kingdom females of the species give birth on land ans also show a considerable tendency to return to the same location to breed, which has not been observed elsewhere. The species habitat is in the water, although they spend a lot of time on shore on ice, sandy beaches, rocks and other places, especially during the winter months. The diet of this species is made up of a wide variety of fish species, as well as sand eels, octopus and lobsters. This species is found in all the Northern European countries and it is also found in Canada and the United States. Vagrant of the species have also been found in Greenland and Portugal. According to the IUCN Red List, the Grey Seal has been listed as a species of least concern since 1996 and its current population trend has been increasing. The major threats that this species faces are from mortality from being entangled in commercial fishing nets, agricultural pollutants and oil spills.
Conservation of Native Mammals in the United Kingdom
There are many things that are being done to help conserve and protect the native mammals of the United Kingdom. The Barbastelle is protected under the European Habitats Directive, the Bonn Convention, the Bern Convention, and also Annexes II and IV of the European Union (EU) Habitats and Species Directive. The Grey Seal is protected by coastal marine reserves and the banning of certain toxic pollutants such as DDT that once threatened their populations.