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This is the second week of our British Wildlife mini-topic.


As with last week, rather than setting specific tasks for you to undertake, below you will find various activities that you can pick and choose from.  The idea is to get to know British wildlife a little better either by going out and about or by having a look online or at the sheets below.  


This week we will focus on vertebrates (creatures with back bones - birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish).


Have a look at this bird detective sheet and then see if you can identify the pictures of the birds below.  Answers later in the week!

Although you are much less likely to have a close encounter with vertebrate wildlife, it remains that you should take great care with anything living that you do handle - which includes plant life.  If you do have the opportunity to handle mammals and birds, always do so with adult supervision and make sure you wash your hands afterwards.  Some plant life activities are included here as well.

Other ideas:

  • Write a report about mammals, birds or other vertebrates
  • Make a guide to the vertebrates in your garden/on your street/in a local park
  • Research vertebrates in the UK that have unusual features or adaptations
  • Spend a half an hour in your garden/a park/looking out a window and write down all the vertebrates that you see - make a tally chart so that if you see something more than once, you record how many times you see it
  • Take pictures of all the vertebrates you see in a week and turn it into a gallery
  • Make a presentation/video about vertebrates and show someone 
  • Write a story: A Day in the Life of (a vertebrate of your choice)
Last week's website links will also be good for identifying British vertebrates.
This sounds disgusting, and you shouldn't handle animal poo, but it is a very good indicator of what might be there.

These were the questions from Mr Roper's Zoom meeting last week about British wildlife:


1.  How many different bird species are there?

Having researched this on multiple websites, I found four different answers!  574, 619, 620 and 621.  So, approximately 600 species would be a rough answer.  The fact is it is updated on a regular basis and depends not just on the birds you sometimes see in the country, but the birds that live in the country.  Many birds visit the UK but do not stay here and these are often not counted as 'British' birds. 


2.  Are there any big spiders?

Not as big as you get in other countries!  Our biggest spider is called the cardinal spider which can grow up to about 12cm (although I have also read it can be 14cm).  It is the legs that add the length as they are much longer than the body is big.  They live in the south of the country, so you will not see them here in Yorkshire.  No spider in the UK is particularly harmful to people and only a handful will bite.


3. What birds live in Yorkshire?


4. Are there any endangered minibeasts?