The British Animal Challenge

I’ve set myself a big challenge. I want to see, in the wild, every species of British animal (as listed in the Collins Complete Guide to British Animals). This includes mammals, amphibians and reptiles but not invertebrates or birds – not that these aren’t fascinating.

I’ve already seen many, but the challenge is going to come with some of the more secretive, or rarer animals, such as the wildcat. But hey, it’s good to have something to aim towards. There’s a bit more about the challenge in this post.

Here’s the complete list:


  • Hedgehog
  • Mole
  • Common shrew
  • Pygmy shrew
  • Water shrew
  • Lesser white-toothed shrew
  • Greater white-toothed shrew


Rabbits and hares:

  • Rabbit
  • Brown hare
  • Mountain hare


  • Red squirrel
  • Grey squirrel
  • Hazel dormouse
  • Edible dormouse
  • Bank vole
  • Field vole
  • Orkney and Guernsey voles
  • Water vole
  • Harvest mouse
  • Wood mouse
  • Yellow-necked mouse
  • House mouse
  • Brown rat
  • Black rat



  • Minke whale
  • Fin whale
  • Sei whale
  • Humpback whale
  • Sperm whale
  • Cuvier’s beaked whale
  • Killer whale
  • Risso’s dolphin
  • Long-finned pilot whale
  • Common dolphin
  • Bottlenose dolphin
  • White-beaked dolphin
  • Atlantic white-sided dolphin
  • Striped dolphin
  • Harbour porpoise


  • Wildcat
  • Fox
  • Stoat
  • Weasel
  • Polecat
  • American mink
  • Pine marten
  • Badger
  • Otter


  • Red deer
  • Sika deer
  • Fallow deer
  • Roe deer
  • Muntjac
  • Chinese water deer
  • Reindeer
  • Goat
  • Soay sheep
  • Cattle
  • Wild boar


  • Ponies (Dartmoor, Exmoor, New Forest, Shetland, Welsh Mountain, Fell, Dales, Highland)


  • Common lizard
  • Sand lizard
  • Slow-worm
  • Grass snake
  • Smooth snake
  • Adder
  • Wall lizard
  • Green lizard
  • Leatherback turtle
  • Red-eared terrapin



20 thoughts on “The British Animal Challenge”

  1. This is a brilliant idea. Will you need one of those bat detector thingies to ID the bats you see?

    There’s a woodland near me that’s meant to have lots of dormice (I’ve never seen one but I’m always accompanied by noisy children), don’t know if you’re far from Cambridgeshire but this is the place-

    1. Thanks – I’ve splashed out on a bat detector, but am still struggling to identify bats (a lot of them sound very similar to me!).

      Thanks for the suggestion for where to see dormice. I’m lucky enough to have seen quite a few dormice – I help with regular dormouse box monitoring, which is pretty much the only way to see them in the wild, since they are nocturnal and live up trees, so very hard to spot. If you’re keen to see them, it may be worth finding out if there’s a dormouse group near you that you could join. I can recommend it as a very pleasant way to spend a morning…

  2. What a brilliant idea, gives me some inspiration. Just saying though that calling it the British animal challenge is a tad misleading when you are not including invertebrate animals – specify that you are only doing vertebrates cos trying to see all British animals would be near impossible due to the vast numbers of tiny plankton, microbial animals and insects. Sorry to be pedantic but people always forget the little things and don’t consider them proper ‘animals’ unless they have a backbone!

    1. Thanks Elliot!
      I agree – it would be pretty much impossible if I included invertebrates – there is such a huge number of fascinating insects etc. For the sake of practicality I went with those (vertebrates) included in the Collins “Complete Guide to British Animals”.
      I’m also excluding birds (not that I’m not interested in them, but again it would be too huge to try and see everything).

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