Killer shrimp and scorpions - 10 wild animals you didn't know exist in the UK

Prepare to be amazed with the creatures we have in the UK.

Tuesday, 31st July 2018, 9:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st August 2018, 11:13 am

Most of us associate the wallaby with Australia, the terrapin with Mexico, and the parakeet with India. However, these animals are also found in the wild in the UK, along with other exotic creatures like scorpions and Siberian chipmunks.Here are ten of the most exotic animals that have made their home in the UK and the amazing stories of how they arrived here. CoatiWhere did they come from? The coati is native to the Americas.Where do they live in the UK? They are thought to live mainly around grasslands and wooden areas in Cumbria. They’ve been spotted as far south as Buckinghamshire.How did they get here? It's thought that the small population are a result of pairs escaping from captivity, or possibly deliberate releases.Killer ShrimpWhere did they come from? The killer shrimp is originally from the steppe region between the Black and Caspian Seas.Where do they live in the UK? They were first discovered in Cambridgeshire and Wales back in 2010.How did they get here? They are thought to have attached themselves to the hulls of ships or been contained in ballast water.Red-Eared TerrapinWhere did they come from? The red-eared terrapin is native to the warmer climates of North America.Where do they live in the UK? They've been found in large numbers in public parks in Cardiff and London.How did they get here? The red-eared terrapin was introduced to the UK as a common pet during the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze of the 1980s. Their population explosion in the wild is blamed on pets being released.

RhinochimaeridaeWhere did they come from? The rhinochimaeridae can be found in temperate and tropical seas across the world.Where do they live in the UK? In the murky depths of the ocean surrounding the UK.How did they get here? Although related to exotic species such as sharks and rays, they have been found living in UK and Irish waters.Ring-Necked ParakeetWhere did they come from? The ring-necked parakeet comes originally from India.Where do they live in the UK? The UK population lives mainly in the South East, particularly around London and parts of Kent.How did they get here? They are believed to have been released into the wild from captivity back in 1969. Other theories about their UK arrival include a daring film set escape, and the result of a Jimi Hendrix stunt.

Siberian ChipmunkWhere did they come from? The Siberian Chipmunk is native to North European Russia and East Asia.Where do they live in the UK? About 1,000 have been eradicated from the wild because of their invasiveness, but small colonies still live around Berkshire.How did they get here? Theories behind their arrival include Channel Tunnel migration and escape from captivity.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Stick InsectWhere did they come from? The stick insect arrived in the UK from New Zealand.Where do they live in the UK? Today, five species – including the common pet ‘laboratory stick insect’ – have flourished in large colonies spotted around the south west of the UK, most notably in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.How did they get here? They were attached to plants brought over from New Zealand in the early 20th century.

WallabyWhere did they come from? The wallaby came to the UK probably from Australia.Where do they live in the UK? A colony of an estimated 100 live on the Isle of Man. There’s also an established colony as far north as Scotland, living on an island on Loch Lomond. Further sightings have been recorded in Kent and the Peak District.How did they get here? One colony descended from a pair that escaped from a wildlife park over forty years ago. Another was introduced by an animal-loving aristocrat in the 1920s.Western Green LizardWhere did they come from? The western green lizard is native to the Channel Islands.Where do they live in the UK? The current surviving colony was discovered in 2003 and lives amongst the brushy clifftops of Boscombe, Bournemouth.How did they get here? Before the population became established, they were unsuccessfully brought to the mainland many times since 1899 in an attempt to naturalise it.Yellow Tailed ScorpionWhere did they come from? The native range extends through Northwest Africa and Southern Europe.Where do they live in the UK? It's estimated that around 13,000 now live in the cracks and crevices of buildings and dockyards far away from human disturbance at Sheerness Dockyard on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent.How did they get here? In the mid-19th century, they hitched a ride on a ship bound for the UK.