Graphic: The wild world that you found at the bottom of the garden

A Grey Squirrel. A Grey Squirrel.

Thursday, April 17, 2014
9:18 AM

The results of the world’s biggest wildlife survey are in, revealing the creatures most frequently spotted and those rarely seen in our gardens.

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The RSPB wildlife survey 2014.The RSPB wildlife survey 2014.

For the first time in the 36-year history of the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, participants were also asked to report some of the other wildlife they spotted.

And the findings for the East reveal that while grey squirrels came out top overall, with 69pc of people seeing them in their gardens at least once a month, their native relative the red squirrel was the least-seen visitor – with only 1pc reporting seeing them on a monthly basis.

The survey also found residents in the East spotted hedgehogs more regularly than any other region in the UK – with more than a third of people seeing them on a monthly basis.

But despite being able to identify them easily, 77pc of those who took part in this region have never seen a badger in their garden.

John Sharpe, RSPB conservation manager for the East, said the survey showed how important our gardens are for the variety of wildlife living there.

“This is the start of something big and something very, very important,” he said. “In a few years’ time we’ll be able to compare how the distribution of garden wildlife may have changed. Hopefully, the fact that more people are helping to give nature a home in their gardens and outside spaces will mean we see improvements rather than declines.”

When not in hibernation, it is the garden frog that takes the lead as the most abundant amphibian in our gardens.

About half of the UK population see a common frog in their garden on a monthly basis, whether they live in a rural, urban or suburban area.

Last year, 25 wildlife organisations, including the RSPB, released the State of Nature report, which revealed 60pc of wildlife species studied have declined over recent decades.

Many garden favourites were among creatures shown to be in serious trouble, including starlings and hedgehogs, some butterflies and ladybirds.

Marina Pacheo, chief executive of the Mammal Society, said: “Those taking part in this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch have captured one of the largest snapshots ever recorded for some of our most endearing and threatened mammals. It’s fantastic to know that gardens can be a vital refuge for rapidly-declining species such as the red squirrel and the hedgehog.”

Upload your garden wildlife photos at iwitness24.co.uk

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