What a fantastic morning we have had at Foxhills Country Club & Resort! We were invited to do an owl talk and handling session for their Summer Camp.
The children had been discussing habitats, doing species ID and had been on a woodland walk prior to our arrival with Freddie the tawny owl. This gave a great setup for our talk all about owls and their adaptations, tawny owls as a species and how we can help owls by preventing secondary poisoning caused by rodenticides and slug pellets. We also talked about how we can make our gardens wildlife friendly to attract more prey species in order to support a healthy food chain for our native predators.
This was finished off with a bit of owl handling since the children were so well behaved and respectful. Freddie the owl was very comfortable and perfectly behaved as always!
Great talk today at Sayer’s Croft all about British wildlife! The children got an opportunity to see all the animal ambassadors up close and learn about the rare and elusive wildlife we share our country with.
We even managed some snake handling and owl handling, which for most was a first time experience for them! How many people can say the first snake they ever handled was the rarest species in the UK, pretty special.
Thank you for inviting us to do a talk here, hopefully the first of many!
We've been called out to help with quite a few wildlife rescues this year. Having a background in wildlife rehabilitation we are able to advise on wildlife casualties and orphaned wildlife but with our limited facilities we divert most onto Wildlife Aid in Leatherhead. However, we appreciate that not everyone is in a position to safely contain an animal or transfer to Wildlife Aid promptly so we have stepped in on a few occasions.
Some of our rescues this year have included:
- Robin caught from inside Superdrug in Cranleigh, quickly assessed and released
- Blackbirds safely caught, contained, assessed and released from garden netting
- Jackdaw fledgling caught in a street after being attacked by other jackdaws, treated for parasites, rehydrated and transferred to Wildlife Aid
- Crow nestling caught up from garden after being abandoned for at least 24hrs, rehydrated and transferred to Wildlife Aid
- Blackbird fledgling safely contained after cat attack and transferred to Wildlife Aid
- Orphaned hoglets abandoned after dog attacked nest, injured ones humanely euthanised leaving a single baby to be hand reared round the clock. Due for release soon
- Several young hoglets contained over a period of a few weeks, all severely dehydrated and emaciated. Treated for fly strike, rehydrated, fed and eventually transferred to Wildlife Aid
- Dunnock fledgling stunned after being hit by car, given time to recover from stun and then released
We had a great day spreading awareness about British native wildlife and their need for protection and conservation at Sayer’s Croft for the Ewhurst Family Fun Day.
Providing people with the opportunity to encounter many of these animals for the first time, some of which they’d never heard of, is very rewarding. We had some fantastic conversations covering topics such as wildlife conservation, heathland habitats, wildlife rehabilitation, invasive species, animal adaptations, falconry practices in bird of prey conservation and how to create a wildlife friendly garden.
The reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates we brought with us were of great interest. Of course Freddie our tawny owl was very popular as usual, but the little hedgehog was definitely a firm favourite!
We were very excited to be invited to Brixton with a few of our animal ambassadors to provide some of the members with an education talk on British wildlife. We had a great time talking about British reptiles with the chance to handle our rarest native reptile. We also brought along our little hoglet and Freddie the tawny owl.
For these children it was their first time seeing any of these animals, and what a privilege it was to share some of our most elusive and wonderful native wildlife with you all! Thank you for having us
What an incredible time we have had over our two days at Surrey Hills Primary School! Across the two days we gave an educational talk and animal encounter to all 170 pupils in groups of 15-25. All children were amazingly behaved around the animals and fully engaged in our talks.
We started off discussing British wildlife and habitats, then had a deeper look into heathland and how we can protect it - including preventing wildfires which is a major concern in this super dry weather! This then led us to having a look at five out of our six native reptiles and an amphibian in real life, with the opportunity for a bit of smooth snake and slow worm handling. It is always wonderful giving children their first opportunity at handling a reptile and busting myths in order for them not to be feared.
A hedgehog was next which was certainly a firm favourite, we talked about how we can improve our gardens to help conserve Britain's declining population of wild hedgehogs. We then had a look at an invasive species - the yellow-tailed scorpion - and tested out their fluorescence under UV light, and finished up with talking all about tawny owls and their adaptations with our very well behaved tawny owl ambassador.
What a pleasure it was to provide both staff and pupils with the opportunity to see many of these animals for the first time. I was very impressed with the pupil's existing knowledge and engagement in the talks, and happy to hear that by the end they all went away excited to make their gardens hedgehog friendly. We had a fantastic two days, thank you for inviting us!
We had a fantastic British wildlife encounter on Friday, surprising Jemima for her birthday! We brought a variety of British reptiles and amphibians alongside our lovely tawny owl Freddie and a very special hedgehog guest.
We started out having a look at the reptiles and amphibian and a few of the children got the once in a lifetime chance to handle Britain’s rarest reptile - the smooth snake. They then saw the fluorescence of scorpions under UV light and had the opportunity to see an orphaned hoglet that needed to come with us for hand feeding as he’s still on regular milk formula feeds. Everyone loved watching him feed and self anoint!
Both the adults and the children were then able to handle Freddie the tawny owl. They were taught how to responsibly hold a bird of prey in the safety position and the correct positioning of the fist to ensure it is most comfortable for the bird.
Of course there was also lots of chat about owls too! This was the first experience this lovely group have had to handle an owl and they did amazingly well. I think the smiles say it all.
We have some new arrivals to our animal ambassador team, and how cool are they! Snappy and Stinger are incredible arachnids that many people don’t realise can be found in Britain.
Yellow-tailed scorpions (Euscorpius flavicaudis) are native to Southern Europe and Northwest Africa. However there is a population of them here in Britain of approximately 10,000-15,000 strong at Sheerness docks having been introduced on shipments during the 1800s.
This species is harmless to humans with a very mild sting which they rarely use. Their main weapons are their pincers. You can see in the first photo how Snappy’s exoskeleton is fluorescing, which is the effect UV light has on scorpions. This makes them very easy to spot in the dark if you’re armed with a UV torch!
We had a fantastic day at Cranleigh Sports and Social Club promoting our British wildlife educational services for our first ever official event! We were celebrating British native wildlife alongside the 70 year reign of our British monarch.
Thank you to everyone that came to show their support. The animals were really settled and very popular with everyone. We had so many great conversations with visitors of all ages, many of which had never seen or even heard of the species we had with us. It was amazing to have the opportunity to spark an interest in our native wildlife and pass on our passion for British wildlife conservation.
Looking forward to future events!