- Bonnie Beasts of Scotland
- Scottish Native Wildlife
What does native mean?
Native means something that comes from a certain place. This could be a person, plant or an animal. A 'Scottish native' is a plant or an animal that lives or grows in Scotland and has not been brought from somewhere else. Native animals live in the wild. Animals like farm animals or pets do not count as native animals though and we would call them domestic animals.
Can you think of any native animals or plants?
Why is it important to look after them?
Lots of our native wildlife is under threat. It is important that we look after and protect our native wildlife so that it is there in the future. When an animal is threatened and there aren’t very many of them left, we can say that it is endangered.
Many animals that used to live all over the UK now only live in Scotland. If we don’t help to protect these animals, then they might become extinct. This means there would be none of these animals left in Scotland.
We can help these animals by learning about them and telling others why it is important to look after nature.
- Scottish Habitats
What is a habitat?
A habitat is the place where an animal or plant usually lives. A habitat will provide all the things an animal or plants needs to survive. This includes:
- Food and water
- Other animals that are the same species
There are lots of different types of habitat. Can you think of any examples?
Some animals and plants need very special surroundings to live in whilst others can survive easily in lots of different types of habitat.
- Food and water
- Polly the Puffin
- Saving Scotland's Wildcats
The wildcat of Scotland (Felis silvestris silvestris) is Britain’s last native cat species and plays an important role in a healthy ecosystem. Sometimes called the Highland Tiger, wildcats look similar to a large tabby cat. However, there are key differences between them. Their size, markings, behaviours, and genetic makeup make wildcats distinct from domestic cats. Threatened by habitat loss, mistaken identities leading to accidental persecution, and hybridisation diluting the gene pool, wildcats in Scotland are now highly endangered. Scottish Wildcat Action was the first national project to save the native wildcat from extinction. From this beginning has gown the Saving Wildcats project in place today.
Spotting a Wildcat
- Beavers are Back
- Ask the students to draw a picture of a wildcat and label it with the important features. Alternatively, create a wildcat 2D sculpture out of natural materials outside on the playground and add labels in chalk. For indoor options, try the wildcat art challenge or make a 3D wildcat and create clowder (the collective noun for cats).
- Try the interactive wildcat game to find out what is causing the disappearance of the wildcat and test yourself when identifying wildcats.
- You can extend this activity by showing the class the Wildcat Introduction PowerPoint to give them a clearer understanding of the threats wildcats face and a better understanding of the animal itself.
- Check out the regular Saving Wildcats #WildcatOrNot feature on social media to practice spotting the difference between a true wildcat, a pet cat and a hybrid wildcat.