I-Spy, with my mammal eye…

Wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is calling for volunteers to take part in its annual Living with Mammals survey.

Members of the public are being asked to survey a garden or local green space once a week between Monday 26th March and Sunday 24th June 2018 and record the wild mammals they see.

Last year, volunteers in the South East and East of England regions returned the greatest number of surveys, while residents of Scotland and the North East, the fewest. So, this year, PTES is particularly interested to hear from those living in Scotland or the north of England, especially as these areas are home to some of Britain’s rarest mammals, such as red squirrels and pine martens.

Volunteers can choose any green space to survey. This could be a rural or urban garden, an allotment, a park, or a green space near to work, as long as the site is within 200 metres of a building. Once a suitable space has been identified, PTES is asking volunteers to visit this site for a short amount of time each week, and record any sightings of mammals, or the signs they leave behind, such as droppings or footprints.

Fallow deer in woods. Credit Laurie Campbell
Fallow deer in woods. Credit Laurie Campbell

Take part and submit findings

Volunteers can submit their findings online, which is also home to a guide on how to spot mammals, and how to tell a pine marten from a polecat, if you’re lucky enough to see one!

David Wembridge, Surveys Officer at PTES explains: “Understanding how wildlife in our towns and cities is changing is essential in supporting our wild neighbours such as foxes, rabbits and hedgehogs. We’ve always shared our green spaces with wildlife, so by counting the number of mammals each spring, we can tell where conservation efforts are needed most. By identifying population trends, finding pockets where certain species are thriving or under pressure, we can ultimately encourage biodiversity around us.”

Hedgehog in leaves. c.BHPS
Hedgehog in leaves. c.BHPS

Many of Britain’s mammals, including hedgehogs, foxes, grey squirrels and bats, are typically found in household gardens, recreational areas, cemeteries and brownfield sites, but other green spaces close to buildings may also provide a home to them. However, there are some mammals that only live in certain parts of the country: for example, hazel dormice, which are rare but occasional visitors to gardens, are mostly found in southern counties of England and in Wales.


To take part in PTES’ 2018 Living with Mammals survey, register online. The survey can also be completed via a printed pack, which can be sent to your door. Just contact LwM@ptes.org to find out how.


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