Fun Fact Friday

Its #factfriday ! This week we are introducing the ring necked parakeet (Psittacula krameri) This species is a non-native invasive species and is the UK’s only naturalised parrot species. The species have become popular pets since the 1800’s, the ones we see in the wild today have either been deliberately released or have escaped.

They are often found in flocks in UK parks, and have made quite a home, particularly in the south-east of England. If you want to see them in Glasgow there are around 20-30 in Victoria Park in the west end, listen out for their loud and unmistakable calls.

You wouldn’t think this species would thrive in the UK but despite their tropical origins of the southern Indian subcontinent, they have fully adapted to cold but mild British winters and thrive in suburban parks where they feast on berries, seeds, nuts and fruit.

There are an estimated 8,600 breeding pairs within the UK. They are a medium sized species of parrot with a length of 38-42cm and a wingspan of 42-48cm. They are thought to be the northernmost species of parrot.

Concerns on how they may pose a threat to native wildlife within the UK and how they may impact fruit farmers is unknown, but so far there have been no reported issues of concern, and their populations are being continuously monitored. Despite being an alien species, they are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Fun Fact Friday

For this weeks #factfriday we are focusing on the hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius)!

The word dormouse comes from the French word dormir, which means “to sleep” and that’s what they love to do best! These shy creatures are nocturnal and arboreal, living in trees for most of their lifetime. Due to this, they have few natural predators and can live up to five years! (a long time for such a small mammal).

They are one of only three U.K mammals that hibernate, one of the reasons this makes them so vulnerable to extinction in Britain. Populations of dormice have fallen by 33% in the last 20 years, mainly due to loss of woodland and hedgerow but also because of changes in countryside management practices.

It’s not all bad news however, many conservation organisations, such as the Woodland Trust and National Trust, have set up programmes in order to restore ancient woodland from coniferous forest to improve the habitat for the resident dormice.

Who couldn’t love this little guy!

Fun Fact Friday

This week we’re focusing on the Red Fox for fact friday!

The Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) is definitely an overlooked species, widely distributed across the UK in urban and rural areas. The Red Fox has a very rich history in association with humans. They have been hunted, worn and used for entertainment for hundreds of years. Nowadays we mostly see them lurking in our gardens or hear their loud mating screeches at night. 

They are a very intellectual and adaptable species able to colonize the majority of  Habitats across the UK. They will mostly try and make a burrow underground which is called an ‚earth‘.

Due to human activity they have mostly become night time predators and have whiskers not only around their faces but also on their legs to help them navigate and hunt their prey. 

Fun Fact Friday

Fun Fact Friday is back! Each week we’ll be sharing a post focusing on specific species, new research or interesting facts!

First up we’re looking at Risso’s Dolphins!

Risso’s Dolphins, Grampus griseus, are a widely distributed cetacean species found in nearly all temperate or tropical waters across the world. In the UK they are often seen around the Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland or around Isle of Man.

Risso’s are stocky dolphin with a characteristic blunt, bulbous head and a large dorsal fin. They have incredible colouring. As calves they are dark grey though gradually lighten as they mature, turning dark brown then almost completely white as adults. One of the key characteristics of this species is the unusual heavy scarring visibly covering their bodies. The scarring is mostly a result of social interactions and play fights, although can be caused through contact with prey such as squid or octopus. Their complex scare are a useful tool for photo ID and classification of individuals for research.