Hedgehogs, badgers and foxes are the most ‘British’ of our wild mammals, according to a new survey commissioned for World Animal Day and aimed at getting budding writers in the mood for a new RSPCA short story competition.
The questionnaire delved into how people see our native wild animals for the wildlife-themed contest and found that foxes are considered the most beautiful, hedgehogs the most shy and badgers the most persecuted.
It was commissioned by the RSPCA for World Animal Day (Thursday October 4) and we are asking people to mark the day by going ‘Wild about Britain’.
Dave Allen, Head of Education for the RSPCA, said: “We are asking people to look around, notice and really enjoy the amazing creatures living in our woods, fields and gardens. From the quizzical fox to the mysterious badger and the cheeky squirrel – our wildlife is so uniquely British.
“Lots of people see the RSPCA as just about cats and dogs but so much of our work involves rescuing and caring for wildlife. We want to celebrate this while encouraging people to cherish the treasures around them.
“With the Olympics, Paralympics and Jubilee it has been an incredible year for Great Britain – now it is time to remember that our wildlife is great too. Keep a look out for an exciting competition launching this half-term that will involve all the family and get all us celebrating our Great British Wildlife.”
As well as the short story competition, the RSPCA will be celebrating our native wildlife by launching themed covers on our Facebook pages and highlighting the work we do to rescue and care for our wild animals.
Around 50% of the 1.1million phone calls to the RSPCA’s 24 hour cruelty and advice line concern wildlife and a lot of the charity’s work involves improving their welfare and ensure they are not only treated better but valued, protected and celebrated.
The survey* commissioned to engage with public views on wildlife revealed that 20% of people chose hedgehogs as the wild mammal they most associated with being British. Foxes came a close second at 19%, with badgers third at 17%.
Seals were the native wild mammal people least associated with being British, chosen by just 1% of those asked.
The most used words to describe badgers were ‘shy’, ‘British’ and ‘persecuted’ while grey squirrels were commonly seen as ‘clever’, ‘cunning’ and ‘beautiful’. Foxes were named as the most beautiful and clever of the animals listed and hedgehogs as the most friendly.