In this language-learning level 2 webpage we have written about 37 animals:
Adder, Badger, Blackbird, Butterfly (Cabbage White), Butterfly (Peacock), Buzzard, Crow (Carrion), Crayfish (White-clawed), dormouse (Hazel), Deer (Red), Deer (Roe), Earthworm (common), Fox (Red), Frog (Common), Golden Eagle, Hedgehog, Heron (Grey), Jackdaw, Jay, Kestrel, Lizard (sand), Mole, Nuthatch, Otter, Raven, Robin, Rook, Snake (Grass), Snake (Smooth), Squirrel (Red), Stoat, Thrush (Mistle), Thrush (Song), Vole (Water), Water Scorpion, Weasel, Wren.
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. . . . . . . . . . . .SCROLL DOWN FOR AN EASY VIEW OF ALL THE LANGUAGE-LEARNING LEVELS (LEVEL 2). . . . . . . . . . .

 

Adder

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

The Adder is a secretive snake that likes to hide in holes and crevices. It also likes to hide in burrows made by other animals. Adders eat voles, mice, lizards, frogs, toads, insects, larvae and even the young of ground nesting birds.

The Adder is also a venomous snake. It has hollow fangs which poison runs through. The Adder bites an animal with its fangs and then uses the poison to kill the animal. After the Adder has bitten and poisoned an animal, the animal tries to escape. The animal doesn’t get very far because the poison makes it weak or eventually kills it. The Adder waits for the poison to take effect and then goes looking for the injured animal. It finds the animal by ‘tasting’ the air with its sensitive tongue. The tongue can pick up the scent of the animal. The Adder only swallows the animal when it is sure that the animal is totally defenseless or dead.

The teeth of the Adder are not equipped for cutting or chewing. However, the teeth can grip and hold onto the animal as the Adder swallows it whole. The Adder usually swallows the animal head first!

An Adder can swallow animals much larger than the size of its head. This is because the Adder can open its jaws very wide and widen its ribs considerably. Even the Adder’s skin can expand and stretch.

 

Badger

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Badgers love eating earthworms. They can eat as many as two hundred earthworms in a night! They also like eating insects, beetles, slugs, apples, plums, blackberries and strawberries. Badgers also eat voles, shrews, mice, frogs, baby rabbits and hedgehogs. Badgers have very strong jaws which can bite through the strong spines of a hedgehog!

When a Badger looks for food, it keeps its nose close to the ground and moves its head from side to side. It makes grunting noises when it looks for food. It can also be very noisy when it eats food. It mutters and grumbles and slurps. Sometimes the Badger even burps!

Badgers live beneath the ground in homes called ‘setts’. Some setts are very large and some setts are very small. Badgers prefer to dig their setts in woodlands where the soil is sandy. Sandy soil stays drier than other soil and it is also softer which makes digging a lot easier for Badgers. Badgers also like to build their setts on the sides of hills or on banks because in these sloping locations rainfall drains away better.

A Badger sett often has a large pile of earth next to the entrance. Badgers throw their old bedding material onto the pile of earth. There is also a ‘latrine’ near to the entrance. A latrine is a hole in the ground where Badgers go to the toilet!

 

Blackbird

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

The Blackbird is quite a large member of the Thrush family. It is sometimes known as the Common Blackbird. Blackbirds can be seen in woodlands, parks, gardens, meadows, farm lands, fields and hedgerows.

Blackbirds like areas that have bushes, shrubs and trees which are near to open ground. They also like the ground to have short grass so they can find worms and insects more easily. When Blackbirds look for food in open spaces, they don’t usually venture too far away from cover. They prefer to forage for food under trees and bushes. When Blackbirds look for food on the ground, they run or hop for a short distance and then suddenly stop as though they are listening out for something. Then they quickly grab their food and run under cover again.

Blackbirds eat earthworms, caterpillars, beetles, insects, larvae and fruit, especially fallen apples and pears. They often turn over leaves with their beaks to look for insects. Their favourite food is berries from hawthorn, holly, rowan and yew trees. Blackbirds also eat tadpoles, newts and even small fish. If food is scarce, they sometimes steal snails from Song Thrushes, but after the Song Thrush has broken the snail’s shell!

On very sunny days Blackbirds like to bask in the sun. They spread their wings wide open, ruffle their feathers, open their bills and close their eyes! They really look like they enjoy sunbathing!

 

Butterflies (Cabbage White)

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Cabbage White Butterflies are sometimes called ‘Summer Snowflakes’. This is because they are quite small and white. They also look like they bounce up and down in the air when they fly. Cabbage White Butterflies can be seen in gardens, meadows, fields, cities and roadsides around July to September.

The Cabbage White Butterfly likes to eat the nectar of flowers, especially from Asters. The Aster is a star-shaped flower with violet-blue leaves and a yellow centre. This butterfly also likes the nectar from Dandelions and Purple Loosestrife. Purple Loosestrife is a tall slender purple plant that can grow up to three metres high. Purple Loosestrife can often be seen near streams and river banks.

The Cabbage White Butterfly can’t chew its food, but it can drink it. To do this the Cabbage White Butterfly uses a tube-like organ which is about half the length of its body. This organ is called the ‘proboscis’ which works like a straw. The Cabbage White Butterfly uncurls the proboscis when it wants to drink something and then inserts it deep into the flower to suck the nectar up. When it has finished drinking, the Cabbage White Butterfly curls the proboscis back into its mouth.

The Cabbage White Butterfly has feet (tarsi) which have taste organs on them. The feet also have tiny claws which help the Cabbage White Butterfly to grip onto a flower while it tastes it with its feet. It also uses its feet to determine which flower contains nectar.

 

Buzzard

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

The Buzzard is a member of the Falcon family. It is also known as the Common Buzzard. It can easily be recognised by the cream curved-shaped marking on its breast and by its rounded head and short neck.

The Buzzard can also be recognised by its powerful hooked beak. The beak is a bluish colour and it has a notch that acts like a tooth. The Buzzard uses the tooth to snap the neck of prey.

The Buzzard has short powerful legs which are an orange-yellow colour. The legs are covered with angular scales. The Buzzard also has bright yellow or orange toes which are long and thin. Three toes point forward and one toe points backwards. Each toe has a long black curved claw. The claws are called ‘talons’ and they are used for seizing and killing prey. The Buzzard sometimes uses its talons to grab insects in the air. Insects are eaten while the Buzzard is still in flight.

The Buzzard also has untidy feathers on the top part of its legs. These feathers are called ‘thigh feathers’. The thigh feathers make the Buzzard look like it is wearing short baggy trousers!

A Buzzard can look quite awkward when it walks on the ground, but when it soars in the air it can look quite majestic. It stretches its wings out as far as possible and curves the tips of the wings upwards. It also spreads its tail feathers out like a fan. The Buzzard can soar the air at tremendous heights.

 

Crow (Carrion)

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Carrion Crows are medium-sized members of the Crow family. Other members of the Crow family are the Jackdaw, the Jay, the Magpie, the Raven and the Rook. Carrion Crows are sometimes called thieves because they steal eggs and chicks from other birds.

Even though Carrion Crows steal eggs and chicks from nests in trees, they prefer to forage for food on the ground. When they look for food, they walk with long strides and then hop every now and again. They seem to walk and hop very purposely.

The Male Carrion Crow often stops to probe the grass with its beak when it looks for insects to eat. The female Carrion Crow prefers to turn over clods of grass with her feet! They both flip over stones and cowpats with their beaks and strip bark from wood to find ants and other insects.

Although Carrion Crows eat ants, they also do something very unusual with them. Carrion Crows sit on ant hills and then spread out their wings and allow the ants to crawl over all their bodies. This is known as ‘anting’ and Carrion Crows really seem to enjoy doing this. It is believed that ‘anting’ keeps parasites at bay because some ants release a certain kind of acid which parasites don’t seem to like. The acid of the ants also acts as a kind of body lotion for Carrion Crows. If a Carrion Crow has an itchy skin, the acid body lotion helps to relieve the itching.

Crayfish (White-clawed)

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

The White-clawed Crayfish is a crustacean. A crustacean has a hard shell, two sets of antennae and jointed legs. The White-clawed Crayfish has four pairs of walking legs and two arms with claws (pincers). The claws are also classed as legs because the White-clawed Crayfish uses them when it walks. The male White-clawed Crayfish has bigger claws than the female.

The White-clawed Crayfish has two sets of antennae. One set of antennae is very small and helps the White-clawed Crayfish to orientate itself in water. The longer set of antennae acts as sense organs. The long antennae are very sensitive to touch and help the White-clawed Crayfish to find its way in very dark water. They also allow the White-clawed Crayfish to taste its food because they have taste sense organs on them.

The White-clawed Crayfish has an abdomen that is divided into six segments. The abdomen is the back part of the body and it looks a little bit similar to a corkscrew. The first five segments have tiny legs which the White-clawed Crayfish uses when it swims. The tiny legs are called ‘swimmerets’. The female White-clawed Crayfish has more developed swimmerets under her abdomen because she uses them to carry her eggs. The seventh segment of the abdomen looks like the shape of a fan and is at the rear end of the body.

The White-clawed Crayfish uses its tail-like fan to move backwards in the water. It does this by pushing water forward with its tail.

 

Deer (Red)

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Red Deer can be found in the Lake District, Exmoor, the New Forest and Norfolk. They are active in the day and at night, but they are mostly active at dawn and dusk. Dawn is when it begins to get light very early in the morning. Dusk is when it first starts to get dark in the evening.

Red Deer like to live in woodlands and forests that have open glades or clearings. A glade is an area of land with few or no trees in a wooded area. In very hot weather Red Deer often go to higher ground or into deeper woodland to avoid flies. In cold weather when food is scarce, Red Deer return to lower land or to more open ground, like the moorland.

At night Red Deer prefer to go to woodlands and forests where it is more sheltered. In the day they like to go to higher sunny slopes to rest, sunbathe and feed. Red Deer eat grass, dandelions, moss, leaves, buds, heather, bilberry and occasionally mushrooms. They also eat tree shoots in winter when food is scarce.

Red Deer eat their food in two stages. They chew the food, swallow it and then regurgitate it (bring it up into the mouth again). The semi-digested food is known as ‘cud’. The cud is chewed again and then swallowed.

 

Deer (Roe)

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Roe Deer prefer to live in forests and woods. They are mostly active at dawn and dusk. Dawn is when it begins to get light very early in the morning. Dusk is when it first starts to get dark in the evening.

If Roe Deer are regularly disturbed, they can become nocturnal. This means that they become active and feed during the night and stay under cover in the day. Roe Deer usually hide in dense undergrowth. Undergrowth is an area of bushes, ferns, small trees and plants that grow beneath taller trees in a wood or forest.

If the sun shines, Roe Deer love to sunbathe, especially in the middle of a wooded area where there are few or no trees. If it rains heavily or if there are strong winds, Roe Deer tend to stay under cover. However, as soon as the weather gets better, they go out into the open to look for food.

Roe Deer like to eat grass, heather, pine nuts, acorns, fruit, plant shoots, fungi, pine needles, brambles, ivy and bilberry. They sometimes visit gardens to eat roses and flowers.

Roe Deer eat their food in two stages. They chew the food, swallow it and then regurgitate it (bring it up into the mouth again). The semi-digested food is known as ‘cud’. The cud is chewed again and then swallowed. When a Roe Deer feels safe and secure, it lies where it has fed to chew its cud in peace and quiet.

 

Earthworm (common)

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

The body of the Common Earthworm is divided into about a hundred and fifty segments. The segments look like they are divided by a line. The Common Earthworm looks like it has lots of rings around its body.

The front part of the Common Earthworm’s body has sense organs. These sense organs allow the Earthworm to find food by smell and also to taste food. The Common Earthworm also has touch-sensitive organs which are located at the front and back part of the body. These organs allow the Common Earthworm to recognise the difference between bright light and dim light. This is important for the Common Earthworm because if it goes out in the sunlight it will die and it will also become an easy target for predators.

The touch-sensitive organs also allow the Common Earthworm to detect vibrations in the earth caused by rain. It is vital for the Common Earthworm to know when it is raining because it may drown if its underground tunnels and chamber get too flooded.

Heavy downfalls can sometimes cause flooding which forces the Common Earthworm to leave its underground tunnel. When the Common Earthworm is on the surface, the strong vibrations of the rainstorm disorientate it so it gets confused and lost. This is why so many Common Earthworms can be seen on footpaths and roads, instead of on the soil after it has rained very hard.

 

Fox (Red)

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Red Foxes eat almost anything. What they eat depends on where they live. If they live in the countryside, they eat meadow voles, rats, squirrels, rabbits, hares, young deer and birds. In autumn they tend to eat more fruit and berries, especially blackberries.

If a Red Fox lives in a city or a town, it rummages through rubbish bins and compost heaps. Sometimes it will raid a bird table for bread crusts. If pet food is left outside, the Red Fox will eat that too. It also eats small birds and pigeons. The Red Fox eats its food with a set of forty-two very sharp teeth.

Red Foxes prefer to hunt at night because their eyes function better in low light. When the Red Fox wants to catch food, it uses its ears as well as its eyes. To find out where the sound of an animal is coming from the Red Fox first raises its head and keeps its ears upright. Then it cocks its head or lowers it to the ground to work out exactly where the animal is. If the Red Fox finds a small animal, it pounces on it and pins it down with its feet. It bites the animal through the spinal cord to kill it.

A Red Fox can only eat ten percent of its body weight per day because it has quite a small stomach. It eats about a kilogramme of food per day. A Red Fox stores excess food and buries it in holes near to its home. The home of a Red Fox is called a ‘den’.

 

Frog (common)

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Common Frogs can be seen near ponds and lakes which have still water. They can also be seen in gardens around the end of February to June. The colours and the dark markings on Common Frogs allow them to be well-camouflaged outside. They are quite difficult to spot even when they are leaping though long grass.

The Common Frog leaps by using its hind legs. The hind legs are usually folded when the Common Frog is in a sitting position. From the sitting position the Common Frog can quickly unfold each joint in its hind legs. As it unfolds its legs, the front part of its body is projected forward which allows the Common Frog to quickly leap forward.

The front two legs of the Common Frog are smaller than the back legs. It uses its front legs and the four toes on its front feet to prop itself up when it is sitting. The Common Frog has five webbed toes on its back feet. It uses its webbed toes like flippers to help it swim really quickly.

The eyes of the Common Frog bulge out and they are situated quite high up on each side of the face. The positioning of the eyes allows the Common Frog to keep a good look out for food even when most of its body is under water. The Common Frog flicks out its long sticky tongue to catch food.

 

Golden eagle

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

The Golden Eagle is a large bird of prey and it can easily be recognised because of the golden-brown coloured feathers on its crown. It can also be recognised by its long broad wings that look like they have long extended fingers. The wings also look like they are a shallow ‘V’ shape when the Golden Eagle glides in the air.

Golden Eagles can fly very high up in the air. They fly so high that they are nearly invisible to the naked eye. When Golden Eagles fly, they flap their powerful wings very slowly and deeply about six to eight times and then glide for a while. They can glide for approximately two hundred metres before they have to start slowly flapping their wings again. Golden Eagles love to soar and glide on air currents.

Golden Eagles are excellent fliers and they can reach speeds of up to one hundred and thirty kilometres per hour. The average speed of a Golden Eagle flying is around fifty kilometres per hour.

The Golden Eagle uses ten primary feathers on its wings to help it to propel itself forward. The primary feathers are stiffer and longer than all the other feathers and they are the most outer feathers on the wings. If these feathers get damaged, the Golden Eagle can’t fly.

The twelve long tail feathers are also important for the Golden Eagle. They help the Golden Eagle to keep in balance when it is flying and they also act as a kind of rudder when the Golden Eagle wants to change direction.

 

Dormouse (Hazel)

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

The Hazel Dormouse, otherwise known as the Dormouse or Common Dormouse, can often be found in the southern parts of England such as Devon, Kent, Somerset and Sussex. It can also be found in the north of England in some parts of the Lake District.

The Hazel Dormouse is ‘aboreal’ which means it spends most of its time climbing around in trees. Hazel Dormice have feet that are able to grasp onto things like hands do. These feet are called ‘prehensile’ feet and they are very useful for the Hazel Dormouse, especially when it wants to jump from branch to branch.

Hazel Dormice also have feet that are very flexible and adaptable to climbing. They can turn their back feet almost at right angles to their bodies. The ability to do this helps them to cling onto branches and twigs quite easily. Hazel Dormice are agile climbers and can run and jump from branch to branch quite easily.

When a Hazel Dormouse moves around trees, it uses its long whiskers to act as sense organs. The whiskers are sensitive to touch which help the Hazel Dormouse to find its way in the dark. The whiskers also stop it from bumping into things on a dark windy night.

Hazel Dormice don’t like to spend much time on the ground because they feel more exposed to danger. They would rather take long detours through tree tops in search of food than walk on the ground.

 

Hedgehog

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Hedgehogs eat many insects, although they love eating beetles. They also eat caterpillars, earwigs, slugs, bees and even birds’ eggs.

The Hedgehog likes to eat things in a certain way. When a Hedgehog eats a beetle, it firsts picks it up with its incisor teeth and then crunches the beetle very slowly. It seems like the Hedgehog really wants to enjoy its meal.

If a Hedgehog eats a garden slug, it wipes the slime off first with its forepaws and then eats it. Sometimes a Hedgehog eats an earthworm, but it will only eat it from the back end first.

A Hedgehog can sometimes be really thirsty. It can drink up to half a pint of water from a pool or river. It slurps and grunts while it laps the water up. A Hedgehog is a really noisy drinker and a really noisy eater too.Hedgehogs usually spend most of the day sleeping. They wake up when it is dark to go looking for food. A male Hedgehog can walk up to three kilometres in a single night looking for food. When a Hedgehog forages for food, its spines are usually sleeked back. When it feels threatened, it raises its spines to an erect position.

When a Hedgehog moves around during the night, it leaves a faint scent trail against the ground to mark its territory. However, if one male Hedgehog crosses another male’s territory, they usually keep their distance. Hedgehogs very rarely fight amongst each other.

 

Heron (grey)

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

The Grey Heron is a tall lanky-looking bird that can often be seen standing very still and quietly near water. Sometimes it visits gardens to steal goldfish or frogs from garden ponds.

The Grey Heron often wades through shallow water to look for prey. It also stands up to its breast in water to look for food. The Grey Heron doesn’t get cold in water because it has down feathers that keep its body warm. Down feathers are soft and fluffy feathers which are situated under the outer feathers. They trap warm air and this warm air keeps the Grey Heron protected from the cold.

The Grey Heron also has powder down feathers on its breast and rump. They are a yellowish colour and grow in patches and these feathers produce dust. The Grey Heron takes the dust from the feathers and scatters it on its wing feathers. The dust helps to waterproof the wing feathers so that the Grey Heron can still fly even if it is raining.

The Grey Heron also uses the dust from its powder down feathers to help clean away any dirt or slime. It scatters the dust on its body and then uses its claws to comb through the feathers. The dust also seems to suffocate any feather lice that may be hiding under its feathers.

The Grey Heron also moults its feathers to keep them in top condition. Moulting is a process whereby the Grey Heron sheds its old feathers to replace them for new ones. The Grey Heron moults its feathers around June till November.

 

Jackdaw

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Jackdaws are the smallest members of the Crow family and they are often seen near churches and old buildings. They can also be seen in woodlands, fields, parks, gardens, cities, towns, hedgerows and on sea cliffs. If Jackdaws lives in towns or cities, they can be seen on roofs and chimneys. Urban Jackdaws often raid the nests of pigeons and sometimes they block chimneys with their nests!

Jackdaws live in ‘loose’ colonies and they are very sociable with each other. Some Jackdaws can be seen flying alone, but they are usually seen in pairs or seen flying in large flocks. Pairs usually stay together when they are with a flock. Jackdaws will also join flocks of Rooks and Starlings.

When Jackdaws fly in the air, they look very aerobatic. They glide and soar through the air with ease and perform spectacular steep dives. Sometimes they dive or free fall from the sky to land on a chosen site, but most times they seem to do it just for fun. Jackdaws really seem to play as they tumble in the air and vigorously chase each other!

When a Jackdaw flies close to the ground, its flight is hurried and rather jerky. However, it still manages to look light and agile when it is flying. On the ground the Jackdaw has a light rapid walk and it even seems to be light on its toes when it hops and runs. The Jackdaw looks very buoyant and confident on the ground, even though it is considered to be a shy garden bird.

 

Jay

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Jays prefer to live in both coniferous and deciduous woodlands, especially if they have mature oak trees. Jays can also be found in parks, cemeteries and large gardens that have mature trees.

Jays eat a wide variety of food such as acorns, hazelnuts, beechnuts, blackberries, fruit, worms, ants, woodlice, millipedes, centipedes, beetles and caterpillars. They also eat birds’ eggs and they even take chicks from nests too. If a Jay visits a garden to look for food, it often hangs around in a tree for some time before it swoops down to get food from a bird table.

Jays spend a lot of time in or near oak trees. Oak trees are large deciduous trees which can be about forty-five metres high. The tops of oak trees are very wide and dense which provide good cover for Jays. In autumn oak trees also provide Jays with lots of ripe acorns.

In September and October Jays can be seen hopping on the ground looking for acorns. Jays never seem to walk or run, they just seem to hop all the time and while doing so constantly jerk their tails. Jays collect acorns in large numbers and store (cache) them for a later date when food becomes scarce. Acorns are usually buried under ground, but sometimes they are hidden in tree crevices. A Jay can store as many as three thousand acorns in a month!

 

Kestrel

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

The Kestrel is the most common member of the Falcon family and is frequently seen in England. It is easily recognised by its reddish brown back with black markings and its long broad wings. It is the only reddish brown Falcon in England.

Another prominent feature of the Kestrel is the black facial stripe just below each eye. This stripe is called the ‘malar stripe’ and it is there to prevent glare from the sun.

Kestrels have short strong legs that are an orange-yellow colour. The legs are covered with angular scales. Kestrels also have bright yellow or orange toes which are long and thin. Three toes point forward and one toe points backwards. Each toe has a long black curved claw. The claws are called ‘talons’ and they are used for seizing and killing prey. Kestrels also use their talons to grab insects in the air. Insects are eaten while the Kestrels are still in flight.

A Kestrel can often be seen hovering in the air. When it hovers, it hangs in the same spot for a minute or two and then makes short rapid wing beats. It also spreads out its tail and bends its head down as far as possible. Kestrels hover when they want to hunt for prey.

Kestrels can even keep their balance in the air on a very windy day. They keep balance by keeping their wings wide open and by keeping very still. This action is called ‘kiting’.

 

Lizard (sand)

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Sand Lizards are very rare in England and they are only found in some areas in the south of England and in some parts of north-west England. Sand Lizards are also very shy. They like to spend a lot of time hiding under the sand.

The Sand Lizard has a roundish face with a blunt nose. It has orange coloured eyes with large black irises. The tongue is a greyish colour. The Sand Lizard frequently flicks out its tongue to catch scent particles in the air. It then places the scent particles on the roof of its mouth where there are sensitive sense organs. These scent organs help the Sand Lizard to ‘taste’ any prey in the area.

The Sand Lizard likes hunting for spiders, grasshoppers and small beetles. When it hunts, it keeps very still and waits for an insect to pass by and then catches it and swallows it whole. Sometimes a Sand Lizard jumps up off the ground to grab an insect and it will even chase bees, wasps and butterflies. Sometimes if a Sand Lizard is really hungry, it quickly shuffles around in a litter of leaves to disturb any insects. Then it eats as many insects as possible!

The Sand Lizard can move very quickly in a zigzag fashion on the ground. The long tail helps to support the Sand Lizard when it zigzags and it also supports the Sand Lizard when it wants to make an accurate jump to catch an insect.

 

Mole

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

The Mole has skinny hind legs and short rectangular arms. Its front hands are large and broad which make them look like shovels. The hands also have five very strong claws. The Mole uses its claws to dig through earth and it uses its shovel-like hands to scoop up earth.

When the Mole digs, it uses its forearms in alternate strokes to take the soil from the sides of the tunnel. Every so often the Mole turns round, scoops up the earth and pushes it upwards. The Mole pushes the earth upwards with one arm while it braces the other arm and hind feet against the tunnel walls to give it more strength. The soil is pushed up above the ground to form a Molehill.

The Mole uses its tail to run backwards in a tunnel. The tail, which is always held upright, touches the top of the tunnel and helps the Mole to feel its way in the dark. When the Mole wants to turn right round, it sometimes does a somersault!

The velvety fur of a Mole lies backwards and forwards. This is very practical because the fur doesn’t get stuck in the tunnel walls when the Mole squeezes through them. A Mole can shift around six kilogrammes of soil every twenty minutes and it can tunnel up to twenty metres a day. The heaps of soil Moles make in a garden can be unsightly, but their tunnelling brings fresh soil to the surface, helping to aerate the land.

 

Nuthatche

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Nuthatches can often be seen in woods which have mature oak trees and beech trees. Nuthatches can also be seen in parkland. Parkland is a large area of land preserved in its natural state. Sometimes Nuthatches live in parks and gardens if there are enough large mature trees in them.

The Nuthatch spends most of its time in trees. It is sometimes called the ‘upside down bird’ because it can be seen walking down the tree upside down head first!

A Nuthatch climbs up a tree by first moving to the left and then moving to the right. It seems to climb up a tree in a zigzag pattern. As the Nuthatch climbs up or down a tree, it holds one foot firmly onto the bark of the tree while it stretches the other foot forward. The Nuthatch also uses its strong claws to firmly grip onto tree trunks, especially when it is climbing down.

When a Nuthatch walks on horizontal branches, it hops on them with both feet and then moves along them by hopping in a zigzag manner. The Nuthatch also hops when it is on the ground looking for food. The Nuthatch can hop very quickly.

When the Nuthatch is foraging for food on the ground, it uses its beak to pick up leaves, tree branches and other items. Sometimes a Nuthatch flies onto bird tables to look for seeds or nuts when food is scarce.

 

Otter

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

An Otter can look quite clumsy and awkward when it walks on land. This is because its back legs are longer than its front legs. In water the Otter is elegant and graceful. It uses its four webbed feet to paddle in water when it wants to swim slowly. To swim quickly, the Otter keeps the shorter front legs close to the side of its body and uses the back legs and its long powerful tail to propel itself forward. An Otter can swim up to twelve kilometres per hour.

An Otter uses its strong, sensitive whiskers to detect fish in dark and muddy waters. The whiskers on the side of the snout and under the chin pick up vibrations fish make in the water. The Otter steers its way to the vibrations and then chases the fish. It grips a fish with its sharp teeth and powerful jaws and then carries it on land to eat it. An adult Otter needs to eat twenty per cent of its body weight every day. That is about two and half kilogrammes of food per day.

Even though Otters eat a lot of fish, their favourite food is eels. Otters also eat birds, baby rabbits and even frogs. Otters like playing with frogs. An Otter nudges a frog many times with its nose to make the frog jump. When the Otter gets tired of playing with it, the Otter holds the frog down and eats it whole!

 

Peacock Butterfly

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

The Peacock Butterfly is quite a small butterfly and it has a wingspan of about six centimetres. However, the female is bigger than the male. Peacock Butterflies only fly during the day and sleep at night. Peacock Butterflies can be seen on flowery banks, roadside verges, in gardens, meadows, woods, orchards and in the countryside.

Sometimes a Peacock Butterfly likes to bask in the sun and it can often be found sun-bathing on the ground with its wings open. When the sun vanishes behind a cloud, the Peacock Butterfly closes its wings and then opens them again when the sun comes back out.

If a Peacock Butterfly feels threatened by a predator, like a bird, the Peacock Butterfly opens its wings and rubs the surface of its wings together to make a rasping or hissing sound. This threatening, hissing sound usually startles a bird momentarily.

Also the sudden appearance of the eye spots on the Peacock Butterfly’s wings can startle a bird. The bird thinks for a moment that the Peacock Butterfly is a larger animal because the spots on the wings look like eyes of an animal.

When the bird is startled, the Peacock Butterfly tries to make a quick escape. If the Peacock Butterfly isn’t fast enough, the bird looks at the wings again and then starts to attack them. The eye spots on the wings help to divert the attack away from the Peacock Butterfly’s vulnerable body. A Peacock Butterfly is still able to fly even if chunks have been pecked out of its wings.

 

Raven

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Ravens are the largest members of the Crow family. They are sometimes known as ‘Northern Ravens’. Ravens can be seen near old buildings in the centre of cities. Many Ravens can be seen at the Tower of London.

Although Ravens can be seen at the Tower of London, it is not very common for Ravens to live in the centre of a city. Ravens often live in parks or in natural spaces not too far away from cities. Most Ravens prefer to live in wooded areas that have large open land nearby. They also like to live near sea cliffs, mountains and moorland.

Ravens are often seen in pairs throughout the year. They can also be seen flying in small flocks. These flocks are usually family groups which stay together for many years. When Ravens fly in flocks, they look very aerobatic as they chase each other and tumble together in the air. Sometimes they dive or free fall from the sky to land on a chosen sight, but most times they seem to do it just for fun!

Ravens tend to fly quite slowly, but they still manage to look very powerful and majestic in the air. Ravens love to glide and soar high up in the air without flapping their wings. Sometimes they turn over on their backs while flying. A Raven can fly upside down in the air as far as one kilometre!

 

Robin

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

The Robin is sometimes known as ‘Robin Redbreast’ because of its distinctive red face, neck and chest. Robins can be seen in gardens, parks and dense hedges. They can also be seen in woods that have plenty of undergrowth.

A Robin can often be seen perching on branches in trees. It perches on trees by using its large feet that have three toes pointing forward and one toe pointing backwards. When the Robin wants to secure itself onto a branch, especially on a windy day, it has to lock itself into position. It does this by bending its leg joints and sitting on its toes. This position stops the Robin being blown off the tree in stormy, windy weather. When the Robin wants to fly away, it first has to ‘unlock’ its position by straightening its legs.

On a cold night the Robin has to keep itself warm when it rests on branches. It does this by tucking its head under its shoulder plumage. Plumage is the covering of feathers on a bird. The Robin also puffs out its feathers so that they almost stand on end. This is a bit like fluffing up a down quilt! By fluffing out its feathers, warm air pockets become trapped in the feathers which help the Robin to keep warm.

Sometimes a Robin stands on one leg and pulls the other leg up under its body to keep warm. It also uses its belly feathers to keep its feet warm!

 

Rook

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Rooks are medium-sized members of the Crow family and they are sometimes known as ‘food gatherers’. Rooks are very sociable birds that are very rarely seen on their own.

Rooks prefer to live near open fields where there are plenty of tall trees nearby. Rooks can sometimes be seen in town parks and villages, but they like to stay away from city centres and large towns. Rooks can also be seen on moorlands and they may visit large gardens if food is scarce.

Rooks often live in areas where there are plenty of tall trees because they like to build their nests high up in trees and also close to other Rooks’ nests. Rooks like to form a close-knit colony which is called a ‘rookery’. Rookeries can vary in size. They can consist of up to two nests or as many as a thousand nests.

Rooks like to build their nests in ash, beech, oak, horse chestnut and sycamore trees because they are tall and dense. Rooks used to build their nests in elm trees, but they had to change trees when Dutch Elm disease wiped out about ninety percent of elm trees in the seventies.

The male Rook usually chooses the nest site and starts building the nest before the female does. However, the female does join in eventually and both the male and the female finish building the nest together.

 

Snake (grass)

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

The Grass Snake is sometimes called the ‘Ringed Snake’ because it has a yellow band behind its head. The yellow band looks like a collar or a ring.

The Grass Snake is also known as the ‘Water Snake’. When a Grass Snake swims, it keeps its head above water. If it is disturbed, it quickly dives under the water and hides between water weeds or other water plants. The Grass Snake can stay under water for up to an hour!

Grass Snakes are very good swimmers and they do most of their hunting in water. They eat tadpoles, toads, newts and fish. Sometimes they eat mice and small birds. Grass Snakes are not venomous like other snakes and they don’t have fangs. They have teeth that are curved backwards which help the Grass Snake to grip onto its prey as it swallows it whole. Prey is usually swallowed head first and alive!

A Grass Snake produces a foul-smelling scent if it is caught by a predator. It also strikes the predator’s head even though the Grass Snake is not venomous. The smell and attack may shock the predator enough for it to release the Grass Snake.

When a Grass Snake feels corned, it hisses very loudly and strikes with its mouth closed. It very rarely bites. Sometimes when a Grass Snake feels very threatened, it lies on its back, makes itself very limp, opens its mouth and hangs its tongue out. The Grass Snake does this to pretend it is dead!

 

Snake (smooth)

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Smooth Snakes are not easy to spot because of their secretive habits. They like to spend a lot of time hiding under cover. Smooth Snakes are also very rare in England.

Smooth Snakes like to spend most of their day resting. They rest under rocks and stones and even under ground. When they are hungry, they leave their resting places to go hunting for food. Smooth Snakes like eating Sand Lizards.

When a Smooth Snake hunts for a Sand Lizard, it moves very slowly and very cautiously towards it. It keeps an eye on the Sand Lizard all the time so it doesn’t lose sight of it. The Smooth Snake quickly grabs the Sand Lizard by the mouth and then wraps its coils around it to squeeze all the energy out of it. When the Sand Lizard can’t move any more and is nearly unconscious, the Grass Snake swallows it alive, whole and usually head first.

Smooth Snakes wrap their coils around their prey because they are not venomous like other snakes. Also Smooth Snakes can’t kill with a single bite. However, if a Smooth Snake feels threatened by a human, it will bite and even hang on. The bite is not poisonous, but it can be painful.

A Smooth Snake sometimes releases a foul-smelling substance if it feels threatened. The smell is a bit similar to that of a stink bomb!

 

Squirrel (red)

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

The Red Squirrel has a long bushy tail to help it balance and steer when it leaps from branch to branch. The tail also keeps the Red Squirrel warm when it rests and sleeps.

Red Squirrels prefer to sleep high up in trees where they usually build their nests. The nests are called ‘dreys’. Dreys are often built in the forks of tree trunks. The Red Squirrel uses twigs and sticks to make a dome-shaped drey. The drey is then lined with moss, leaves, grass and bark to provide warm shelter for the Red Squirrel. A well-made drey may last up to three years.

It is common for a Red Squirrel to keep previously built dreys in good condition so they can be used in case of emergencies. Sometimes nests may get waterlogged or destroyed. A nest may even get infested with too many fleas or mites so the Red Squirrel is forced to move out to another nest until the parasites have died out.

Red Squirrels sometimes make their homes in tree hollows. These homes are called ‘dens’. Dens may be natural holes or holes made by woodpeckers. The dens are lined with soft leaves, grass and moss. Dens make very safe homes for Red Squirrels because the dens can’t be easily seen. Sometimes Red Squirrels share a drey or den with other Red Squirrels to keep warm.

 

Stoat

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Male Stoats mainly eat rabbits, but they also eat hares, water voles, rats, birds and fruit. Female Stoats tend to hunt for birds and smaller rodents, like rats and water voles. This is because a female Stoat is almost half the size of a male Stoat. If food is scarce, Stoats sometimes eat earthworms, large insects and even dead animals.

Stoats are active day and night and they prefer to hunt along hedgerows, ditches and walls because they don’t like to be too much in the open. If a Stoat is on farmland, marshes or moors, it often runs in a zigzag pattern so it can be thorough and systematic when looking for food. When a Stoat hunts for food, it stands on its hind legs every now and again so it can scan and smell its surroundings.

Although a Stoat has quite bad eyesight, it has a very good sense of smell. It often tracks down its prey by sniffing the air and ground to pick up the scent of animals. When the Stoat finds an animal, it quickly pounces on it and bites it at the back of the neck to kill it. Stoats have very powerful jaws and thirty-four very sharp teeth. They can kill their prey with a single bite.

Stoats can climb and swim well. They can also run as fast as ten kilometres per hour for short distances. They can even leap three times their body length!

 

Thrush (mistle)

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

The Mistle Thrush is quite a large-sized member of the Thrush family. It is sometimes known as the ‘Missel Thrush’ or the ‘Stormcock’.

Mistle Thrushes can be seen in woodlands, parks, meadows, heaths, moors, orchards, fields and hedgerows. They can also be seen in gardens, but they never seem to look as relaxed in gardens like other birds do.

When Mistle Thrushes look for food, they don’t usually venture too far away from cover. They prefer to forage for food under trees and bushes. Mistle Thrushes eat worms, slugs, larvae, spiders and insects. They very rarely eat snails. Their favourite food is berries from hawthorn, holly, rowan and yew trees. A Mistle Thrush can be very territorial if it has a berry tree in its territory. It will vigorously try to stop other thrushes or birds taking any berries from it, especially in winter. However, in late summer, flocks of Mistle Thrushes can be seen together in a berry tree because there are just too many berries to defend. Sometimes Mistle Thrushes take young birds out of nests to feed to their own young.

Mistle Thrushes spend a lot of time on the ground looking for food. When they look for food, they either run or hop for a short distance. When a Mistle Thrush is stationary, it seems to stand in a very upright position with its head raised. This upright position makes its belly stick out even more.

 

Thrush (Song)

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

The Song Thrush is a medium-sized member of the Thrush family and it is sometimes known as the ‘Throstle’. Song Thrushes can be seen in woodlands, parks, gardens, meadows, farm lands, fields and hedgerows. Basically, they can be seen wherever there are bushes and trees.

When Song Thrushes look for food, they don’t usually venture too far away from cover. They prefer to forage for food under trees and bushes. Song Thrushes eat earthworms, caterpillars, beetles, insects, larvae and fruit. Their favourite food is berries from Hawthorn, Holly, Rowan and Yew trees.

The Song Thrush sometimes eats slugs and snails if there are few earthworms on the ground because the soil is too hard or dry. When a Song Thrush eats a snail, its takes the snail by the beak and then hits the snail against a stone to smash the shell of the snail. The Song Thrush uses the stone like an ‘anvil’ and it often uses the same stone to break shells. When the shell is broken, the Song Thrush eats the soft body of the snail.

When the Song Thrush drinks water, it sips a drop of water into its beak and then tilts its head back so the water goes down its throat. When it looks for food on the ground, it runs or hops for a short distance, then abruptly stops. When the Song Thrush is stationary, it leans its head to one side as though it is listening out for something. It always seems to be on alert.

 

Vole (water)

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Water Voles can be seen along rivers, streams, ditches, canals, lakes, marshes and reedbeds. They often dive into water to find water weeds. Water Voles also eat willow shoots, twigs, bulbs, roots and fallen fruit. They are very fond of apples. Sometimes they eat snails.

Water voles are also very fond of yellow iris stems. Yellow iris plants are found near streams and marshes. They are about one hundred and twenty centimetres high with bright yellow flowers and narrow, sword-shaped leaves.

Water Voles use their front paws to tear food like grass and waterside plants out of the ground and then they usually take the food to the edge of the water to eat it. Water Voles often leave a pile of chewed food behind them. Sometimes it is possible to see two front teeth marks on some of the left over pieces of food. Water Voles store food in piles under the ground during the winter.

The Water Vole spends a lot of time in and out of water so its coat needs to be warm and waterproof. The coat has two layers. The first layer consists of thick brown fur on the outside which keeps the Water Vole dry. The second layer consists of soft woolly hair underneath the fur which keeps the Water Vole warm. Air sometimes gets trapped between the two layers so when a Water Vole swims, air bubbles can be seen floating over its shiny body.

 

Water Scorpion

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Water Scorpions can be seen in ponds, lakes, stagnant waters and shallow slow-flowing water. Scorpions tend to float motionless very close to the surface of the water. They can easily be mistaken for dead leaves.

Sometimes Water Scorpions can often be seen clinging upside down onto water weeds or water plants. They very rarely venture into deeper waters because they need to take in air from above the surface of the water. Water Scorpions need to breathe in air. If a pond is shallow, they sometimes crawl very slowly at the bottom of the water.

The Water Scorpion’s tail has two breathing tubes that are closely pressed against each other. The Water Scorpion swims backwards to the surface of the water so it can extend the tip of its tail out of the water. When the tail is out of the water, the Water Scorpion breathes air into the breathing tubes before going under water again. The Water Scorpion uses its tail similar to how a human uses a snorkel. The Water Scorpion can stay under water for up to thirty minutes.

Water Scorpions sometimes swim short distances, but they only do this if they have been disturbed. Water Scorpions don’t really like swimming. When they swim, they move their front pair of legs up and down and they move the second and third pair of legs in an oar-like manner. They look quite jerky in water.

A Water Scorpion can bite. The bite is not really harmful, but it can be painful. Water Scorpions are also known as ‘toe biters’!

 

Weasel

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Weasels can hunt any time of the year because they can enter the tunnels of other small animals. They can even hunt under deep snow. Weasels mainly eat mice and voles, but they also eat rats, small rabbits, frogs and birds. They sometimes eat fruit.

The ears of the Weasel lie flat on its head which is ideal for the Weasel when it hunts in confined spaces underground. Soil doesn’t get into the ears when the Weasel is looking for food in tunnels.

The Weasel has both ‘binocular’ and ‘monocular’ vision. This means the Weasel can use both eyes to work together to produce one single image (binocular) and it can use each eye independently to see separate images (monocular). The Weasel also has eyes like a cat so it can see and hunt in the day as well as at night!

Weasels are often active during the day and night because they have to eat nearly a third of their bodyweight every day to survive. They use their sensitive noses to sniff out every hole or crack to find food. When Weasels are not hunting in tunnels, they hunt along hedgerows or stone walls. A Weasel can cover an area of two and a half kilometres when it goes foraging for food.

When a Weasel hunts, it often stands on its hind legs so it can scan and smell its surroundings. Only when the Weasel is familiar with its surroundings, will it make a quick dash into tunnels to pursue its prey. Weasels can hunt any time of the year because they can enter the tunnels of other small animals. They can even hunt under deep snow. Weasels mainly eat mice and voles, but they also eat rats, small rabbits, frogs and birds. They sometimes eat fruit.

 

Wren

LEVEL 3 – Ages 7/8

Wrens can be found in gardens, woodlands, fields, moors, marshes and cliffs. Wrens are also known as birds of crevices and crannies and also as birds of hedgerows, twigs and branches.

A Wren can often be seen perching on branches in trees. It perches on trees by using its large feet that have three toes pointing forward and one toe pointing backwards. When the Wren wants to secure itself onto a branch, especially on a windy day, it has to lock itself into position. It does this by bending its leg joints and sitting on its toes. This position stops the Wren being blown off the tree in stormy, windy weather. When the Wren wants to fly away, it first has to ‘unlock’ its position by straightening its legs.

On a cold night the Wren has to keep itself warm when it rests on branches. It does this by tucking its head under its shoulder plumage. Plumage is the covering of feathers on a bird. The Wren also puffs out its feathers so that they almost stand on end. This is a bit like fluffing up a down quilt! By fluffing out its feathers, warm air pockets become trapped in the feathers which help the Wren to keep warm.

Sometimes a Wren stands on one leg and pulls the other leg up under its body to keep warm. It also uses its belly feathers to keep its feet warm!