Do you want to learn more about the real-life animals behind the John Lewis Christmas Ad? We’ve got fascinating facts below about the stars of the show!

Brilliant Badgers


Badgers are one of the most recognisable, well-known British mammals but how much do you really know about them?

  • Badgers are perfectly designed to dig their setts. They have long, blunt claws to shovel soil and a ridge of bone on their skulls, called a saggital crest, which works like a built-in helmet to protect them from knocks and bumps
  • Being omnivores, badgers eat a wide range of food but their favourite is earthworms. An adult badger can eat up to 200 earthworms a night!
  • They live together as a family in a sett. Some setts can be made up of over 100m of tunnels, with up to 40 entrances!
  • Setts are often built under tree roots and hedges, meaning the roots work as ceiling supports and protect the sett from collapsing
  • Badgers regularly change the bedding in their sett and also dig toilets ('latrines') along their territory borders
  • They're very sociable animals who enjoy grooming each other. As well as building relationships, grooming also removes parasites
  • Badgers don't hibernate over winter but when it gets very cold they can go into 'torpor', meaning they lower their body temperature and survive on their fat reserves

Go for a badger walk

If you want to get a little closer to these fascinating, beautiful animals, you can head out on a badger walk with a Wildlife Trust.

Badger societies are tightly knit, and watching them interact together is an experience you'll never forget. 

Many Trusts hold badger walks so take a look here to see if there are walks near you, or contact your Wildlife Trust directly

 

Fantastic Mr Fox


Roald Dahl had it right, foxes certainly are charismatic creatures. There's even more to them than meets the eye...

  • Foxes aren’t fussy eaters! They hunt rodents and rabbits but will also eat earthworms, birds, fish and even fruit and vegetables
  • In the winter, you might hear a loud, strange, shrieking noise. That’s foxes calling to each other, looking for a mate. It's unforgettable once you hear it! 
  • Both the mother and father look after their cubs as they grow. The male fox is something of a super dad, as he also hunts for the female because she can't leave the den for a month after the cubs are born
  • Their average lifespan is 2-3 years but they can live up to 11 years

There's even more insights into this handsome mammal on our Wildlife Watch Feature Creature page here

Snuffly Hedgehogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You might be aware that these prickly little creatures have been in decline recently, in fact some of you may not have seen them in your garden. You can find out even more about hedgehogs on our page here, but here's a few wonderful facts:

  • An adult hedgehog can have up to 7,000 spines
  • Baby hedgehogs (hoglets) are born with their spines sheathed beneath their skin, which then emerge a few hours after birth
  • Adult hedgehogs travel between 1-2km a night searching for food! This is why hedgehog highways between gardens are so important
  • Hedgehogs hibernate, so always leave hedgehog homes, leaf and log piles undisturbed over winter in case you have a visitor snoozing away
  • On average, hedgehogs live between 2-5 years in the wild

Click the images to download our handy activity sheets!

Scampering Squirrels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


You might be used to seeing squirrels scampering around! But what are they doing over autumn and winter?

  • In the autumn, squirrels collect nuts, seeds and fungi to store, ready for the big freeze. In winter you can see them scurrying around digging them up
  • They are brilliant climbers and are one of only a few mammals who can climb head first down a tree
  • Squirrels don’t hibernate but do spend lots of time during the winter sleeping curled up in their nest (drey) so don't be surprised if you don't seem them as regularly over the winter months 

Click the images to download these fun spotting sheets!