List of mammals of Great Britain

This is a list of mammals of Great Britain. The Great Britain mammal fauna is somewhat impoverished compared to that of Continental Europe due to the short period of time between the last ice age and the flooding of the land bridge between Great Britain and the rest of Europe. Only those land species which crossed before the creation of the English Channel and those introduced by humans exist in Great Britain.

Great Britain holds important populations of grey seals and rare bat species.

Mountain hare in Scotland

Native (usually synonymous with "indigenous") species are considered to be species which are today present in the region in question, and have been continuously present in that region since a certain period of time. When applied to Great Britain, three possible definitions of this time constraint are:

  • a species that colonised the islands during the glacial retreat at the end of the last ice age (c. 9500 years ago);
  • a species that was present when the English Channel was created (c. 8000 years ago); or,
  • a species that was present in prehistory.

This list includes mammals from the small islands around Great Britain and the Channel Islands. There are no endemic mammal species in Great Britain, although four distinct subspecies of rodents have arisen on small islands.

The following tags are used to highlight the conservation conservation status of each species' British population, as assessed by Natural England and The Mammal Society in a Regional Red List, following the criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This listing does not cover introduced species, marine species, or vagrants.[1]

EX Extinct No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died.
EW Extinct in the wild Known only to survive in captivity or as a naturalised population well outside its previous range.
CR Critically endangered The species is in imminent risk of extinction in the wild.
EN Endangered The species is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
VU Vulnerable The species is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
NT Near threatened The species does not meet any of the criteria that would categorise it as risking extinction but it is likely to in the future.
LC Least concern There are no current identifiable risks to the species.
DD Data deficient There is inadequate information to make an assessment of the risks to this species.


Superorder: Australidelphia Order: Diprotodontia

Though most marsupials make up a great part of the fauna in the Australian region, the red-necked wallaby has been introduced and feral populations are currently breeding on the island of Inchconnachan on Loch Lomond in Argyll and Bute, Scotland and on the Isle of Man. Other colonies have existed in Devon, the Peak District, and the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, and although these are now believed to be locally extinct, occasional sightings continue.[2][3][4]

Family: Macropodidae (kangaroos, wallabies, and kin)


Superorder: Euarchontoglires Order: Rodentia

Family: Castoridae (beavers)

Family: Cricetidae (voles)

Family: Muridae (rats, mice and relatives)

Family: Gliridae (dormice)

Family: Sciuridae (squirrels)

Rabbits and hares

Superorder: Euarchontoglires Order: Lagomorpha

The lagomorphs comprise two families, Leporidae (hares and rabbits), and Ochotonidae (pikas). Though they can resemble rodents, and were classified as a superfamily in that order until the early 20th century, they have since been considered a separate order. They differ from rodents in a number of physical characteristics, such as having four incisors in the upper jaw rather than two.

Family: Leporidae (hares and rabbits)

Moles, shrews and hedgehogs

European hedgehog

Superorder: Laurasiatheria Order: Eulipotyphla

The order Eulipotyphla contains insectivorous mammals. The hedgehogs are easily recognised by their spines while gymnures look more like large rats. Shrews and solenodons closely resemble mice while the moles are stout-bodied burrowers.

Family: Talpidae (moles)

Family: Soricidae (shrews)

Family: Erinaceidae (hedgehogs and gymnures)


Superorder: Laurasiatheria Order: Chiroptera

The bats' most distinguishing feature is that their forelimbs are developed as wings, making them the only mammals capable of flight. Bat species account for about 20% of all mammals.

Common pipistrelle bat, Britain's most common species

Family: Rhinolophidae (horseshoe bats)

Family: Vespertilionidae (common or vesper bats)


Superorder: Laurasiatheria Order: Carnivora (excluding pinnipeds, listed separately)

There are over 260 species of carnivorans, the majority of which feed primarily on meat. They have a characteristic skull shape and dentition.

European polecat

Family: Canidae (dogs)

Family: Mustelidae (weasels and relatives)

Family: Felidae (cats)

Family: Procyonidae (raccoons)

Odd-toed ungulates

Superorder: Laurasiatheria Order: Perissodactyla

  • Konik horse, Equus ferus caballus introduced. This Polish breed is a living relative to the wild horses (tarpan) that once inhabited Britain (the Exmoor pony is more relative to the wild Britain horse). They are not truly wild yet; they are in enclosed herds on land that is still wild.
  • Exmoor pony, Equus ferus caballus These horses are the most relative to the tarpan subspecies that lived in Britain. The Dartmoor pony is closely related to the Exmoor pony
  • Dartmoor pony, Equus ferus caballus

Even-toed ungulates

Superorder: Laurasiatheria Order: Artiodactyla

(Excluding cetaceans, listed separately)

The even-toed ungulates are ungulates whose weight is borne about equally by the third and fourth toes, rather than mostly or entirely by the third as in perissodactyls. There are about 220 artiodactyl species, including many that are of great economic importance to humans.

Red deer stag and hinds

Family: Suidae (pigs)

Family: Cervidae (deer)

Seals and walrus

Superorder: Laurasiatheria Order: Carnivora Clade: Pinnipedia

Family: Phocidae (seals)

Family: Odobenidae (walrus)

Whales and dolphins

Superorder: Laurasiatheria Order: Artiodactyla Infraorder: Cetacea

Minke whale and a boat in the British water

The infraorder Cetacea includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. They are the mammals most fully adapted to aquatic life with a spindle-shaped nearly hairless body, protected by a thick layer of blubber, and forelimbs and tail modified to provide propulsion underwater.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Mathews F; Kubasiewicz LM; Gurnell J; Harrower CA; McDonald RA; Shore RF (2018). "A Review of the Population and Conservation Status of British Mammals: Technical Summary. A report by the Mammal Society under contract to Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and Scottish Natural Heritage" (PDF). Peterborough: Natural England. Retrieved 18 August 2019. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ "13 surprising animals you can spot in Britain". The Telegraph. 18 August 2018. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  3. ^ "Unexpected wild animals in Britain – part 1". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  4. ^ Harris, Stephen; Morris, Pat; Wray, Stephanie; Yalden, Derek (1995). "A review of British mammals: population estimates and conservation status of British mammals other than cetaceans" (PDF). Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 September 2004. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/24/beavers-native-protected-species-status-reintroduction-scotland
  6. ^ a b c d e Marshall, Claire (13 June 2018). "One in five British mammals at risk of extinction". BBC News. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  7. ^ "Britain's Mammals: Introducing the Species – Insectivora". Twycross Zoo. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  8. ^ Amori, G. (2016). "Erinaceus europaeus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T29650A2791303. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T29650A2791303.en.
  9. ^ Paunović, M. (2019). "Myotis bechsteinii". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019: e.T14123A22053752. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T14123A22053752.en.
  10. ^ Coroiu, I.; Juste, J. & Paunović, M. (2016). "Myotis myotis". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T14133A22051759. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T14133A22051759.en.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ "Geoffroy's bat discovered in UK for first time". BBC News. 14 September 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  12. ^ "Bat species discovered for the first time in UK". University of Leeds. 20 April 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  13. ^ Csorba, G. & Hutson, A.M. (2016). "Nyctalus noctula". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T14920A22015682. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T14920A22015682.en.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ Juste, J. & Paunović, M. (2016). "Nyctalus leisleri". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T14919A22016159. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T14919A22016159.en.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ Hutson, A. M.; Spitzenberger, F.; Juste, J.; Aulagnier, S.; Palmeirim, J.; Karatas, A. & Paunovic, M. (2010). "Pipistrellus nathusii". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2010: e.T17316A6966886.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ a b c "Rarities and vagrants" (PDF). Bat Conservation Trust. 2010. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  17. ^ a b c "UK Mammal List". The Mammal Society. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  18. ^ Hoffmann, M.; Sillero-Zubiri, C. (2016). "Vulpes vulpes". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T23062A46190249. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T23062A46190249.en.
  19. ^ Roos, A.; Loy, A.; de Silva, P.; Hajkova, P.; Zemanová, B. (2015). "Lutra lutra". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2015: e.T12419A21935287. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T12419A21935287.en.
  20. ^ Kranz, A.; Abramov, A. V.; Herrero, J. & Maran, T. (2016). "Meles meles". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T29673A45203002.
  21. ^ Kitchener, A.C.; Breitenmoser-Würsten, C.; Eizirik, E.; Gentry, A.; Werdelin, L.; Wilting, A.; Yamaguchi, N.; Abramov, A. V.; Christiansen, P.; Driscoll, C.; Duckworth, J. W.; Johnson, W.; Luo, S.-J.; Meijaard, E.; O’Donoghue, P.; Sanderson, J.; Seymour, K.; Bruford, M.; Groves, C.; Hoffmann, M.; Nowell, K.; Timmons, Z.; Tobe, S. (2017). "A revised taxonomy of the Felidae: The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group" (PDF). Cat News. Special Issue 11: 16−20.
  22. ^ Breitenmoser, U.; Lanz, T.; Breitenmoser-Würsten, C. (2019). Conservation of the wildcat (Felis silvestris) in Scotland: Review of the conservation status and assessment of conservation activities (PDF). IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group.
  23. ^ http://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/8244839.Coati_numbers_on_the_increase_in_South_Lakeland/
  24. ^ 24 April 2009 (24 April 2009). "Re-Introducing Moose to the Glen – Moose – BBC". YouTube. Archived from the original on 29 April 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009.
  25. ^ Auslan Cramb; Paul Eccleston (14 April 2008). "Moose to roam free again in Scotland". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 27 January 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  26. ^ https://www.countryfile.com/wildlife/12-things-you-never-knew-about-reindeer/
  27. ^ Willgress, Lydia (2016-10-06). "Seal pup usually found in Arctic Circle recorded in English Channel after straying 3,000 miles off course". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  28. ^ "Arctic seal spotted 'on holiday' in Cork". BBC News. 2017-08-07. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  29. ^ "Baby seal rescued for second time". BBC News. 2011-12-24. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  30. ^ McKenzie, Steven (2018-05-31). "Plastic stuck in dead seal pup's stomach". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  31. ^ "Scotland's walrus 'looks healthy'". BBC News. 2018-05-22. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  32. ^ http://us.whales.org/species-guide/north-atlantic-right-whale
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