List of mammals of Great Britain

This is a list 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 a small (Scottish) population of European Wildcats, 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 arose on small islands.

Contents

Diprotodontia

Though most marsupials make up a great part of the fauna in the Australian Region, the Red-necked Wallaby has been introduced and a feral population is currently breeding on the island of Inchconnachan, Loch Lomond in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. A smaller group is present in the Isle of Man, and the species is locally extinct in Peak District, Cumbria, and Ashdown Forest in East Sussex.

Family: Macropodidae (kangaroos, wallabies, & kin)

Rodentia

Rodents make up the largest order of mammals, with over 40 percent of mammalian species. They have two incisors in the upper and lower jaw which grow continually and must be kept short by gnawing. Most rodents are small though the capybara (once introduced to the Great Britain, but subsequently eradicated) can weigh up to 45 kg (100 lb).

Red Squirrel

Family: Castoridae (beavers)

  • Eurasian Beaver Castor fiber

Family: Cricetidae (voles)

Family: Muridae (rats, mice and relatives)

Family: Gliridae (dormice)

Family: Sciuridae (squirrels)

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)

Primates

Superorder: Euarchontoglires Order: Primates

Primates are five-fingered mammals with opposable thumbs. Humans are Great Britain's only primate, arriving in the 8th millennium BC.

Hedgehogs

West European Hedgehog

Superorder: Laurasiatheria Order: Erinaceomorpha

The order Erinaceomorpha contains a single family, Erinaceidae, which comprise the hedgehogs and gymnures. The hedgehogs are easily recognised by their spines while gymnures look more like large rats.

Shrews and moles

Superorder: Laurasiatheria Order: Soricomorpha

The "shrew-forms" are insectivorous mammals. The shrews and soledons closely resemble mice while the moles are stout bodied burrowers.

Bats

Superorder: Laurasiatheria Order: Chiroptera

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

Common Pipistrelle Bat, Britain's most common species.

Even-toed ungulates

Superorder: Laurasiatheria Order: Artiodactyla

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

Odd-toed ungulates

Superorder: Laurasiatheria Order: Perissodactyla

The odd-toed ungulates are browsing and grazing mammals. They are usually large to very large, and have relatively simple stomachs and a large middle toe.

Carnivorans

Superorder: Laurasiatheria Order: Carnivora

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

See also

External links


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