Due to the growing popularity of the exotic animal trade within Europe, many non-native species can now be found living and thriving within the UK – some of which may come as a shock to you.
Listed below are just a few of these surprising species found in the UK:
1. The Ring Necked Parakeet
This green winged beauty is the most common of exotic species now flourishing within many parts of the UK. Although a sight to behold, especially when seen in large colonies, these birds pose a threat to native woodpeckers and starlings due to the increase in competition they are facing for nesting sites.
2. The Chinese Water Deer
A very cute and very timid creature, these deer are numerous mainly in the South and were thought to be purposely released around 85 years ago.
3. The Coati
Only a small number of these can be found located in Cumbria, with nobody quite sure as to how they actually got there!
4. Snapping Turtles
These dangerous reptiles have been reportedly spotted causing havoc in garden ponds since the early 1990’s.
5. European Wild Boar
Thousands of boar have been found, assuming to have escaped from a local farm, in the South of England. Native to countries such as Germany and Sweden, this species has been known to be aggressive and can cause problems for native species.
Many of these species, although on the surface may seem relatively harmless, are likely to cause harm to the natural habitats of native species, as well as increasing competition for food and territory. It is thought that the increase of these alien species can be put down to three main causes; global warming (as the UK climate becomes more desirable, more species are able to thrive within it), an increase in exotic pets (most of which owners are unable to care for and so are released illegally into the wild) and escapees from local wildlife parks and zoos.