Urban wildlife

Towns and cities aren't devoid of wildlife. A whole host of animals and plants share these urban spaces with us.

Find out about urban nature, the challenges it's facing and how you can help.

Urban areas are expanding and a growing population is living in them - the proportion of the UK's population living in urban areas rose by 8% between 1970 and 2018. In some parts of the world this is even more pronounced. This is having a big impact on nature.

Wildlife you can see in UK towns and cities

Our wild neighbours and their urban habitats

Urban areas can be challenging places for wildlife - animals must battle with traffic, fragmented habitats, and air, noise and light pollution, among other things. But there are also some advantages.

Some wild animals and plants are synanthropic - they are associated with humans and benefit from living close to us - and others adapt.

Discover how some plants and animals have adapted to town and city life.

Wildlife in London

Even in the metropolis that is London, there is wildlife to see and new species to be found.

Did you know?

London is home to more than 15,000 known species.

What lives near you? Ideas for exploring your local urban wildlife

Urban wildlife hotspots to explore in the UK

Wildlife Garden at the Museum

The Wildlife Garden at the Museum is closed until early 2024 while we work on creating a welcoming, accessible and biologically diverse green space in the heart of London, dedicated to urban nature. 

Many of the Wildlife Trusts' nature reserves are in towns and cities or within easy reach. View their list of locations around the UK to see wildlife near urban areas.

The challenges of urban living

The abundance of key urban species has dropped significantly: of 529 urban species assessed in the UK, 37 are considered at risk of extinction.

Urban areas take up 7% of the UK's land area, yet they are currently home to over 80% of the human population, with that figure set to rise to 92% by 2030. There will be increasingly less space for nature to coexist. Learn about the various challenges facing urban wildlife.

Did you know?

In the UK, the abundance of key urban species fell by 10% between 2002 and 2013.

How to help urban wildlife

Urbanisation doesn't have to result in net biodiversity loss. Towns and cities can provide a variety of habitats for wildlife. Most urban environments contain a considerable amount of green space, including private gardens, parks, allotments, cemeteries, road verges and brownfield sites. These can be managed for the benefit of nature.

Here are some actions you can take to help urban wildlife.

Do your bit for nature

Biodiversity is connected to almost every aspect of our lives, but it needs our help. Small actions can make a big difference.

With the world's wildlife facing unprecedented declines, and as urban areas expand, it has never been more important to make our towns and cities healthy and sustainable places to live.

The Urban Nature Project

Find out how we are championing the UK's urban nature and building communities to act for local wildlife.

Urban wildlife around the world

As human populations grow, so does the need for more land and space, increasingly bringing people and wildlife into contact, and sometimes conflict.

Humans are encroaching on the territory of animals in all sorts of environments: tropical rainforests, coastal mangroves, temperate forests and even mountains.

The following features explore nature living in a human-dominated environment - gut-wrenching examples of wildlife exploitation, hopeful tales of nature's ability to thrive in challenging circumstances, uplifting stories of wildlife conservation around the world.

Unusual urban wildlife encounters