8 Facts About UK River Wildlife to Celebrate World River Day

Today is the World Rivers Day (usually falling on the fourth Friday of each September). The longest river in the UK is the River Severn at 220 miles long; the river Thames is the second longest river at 215 miles, but is the deepest in the UK. To mark World Rivers Day, here are eight facts about UK river-based wildlife:

  • The Queen owns all of the Mute Swans in Britain. She also owns all of the whales, sturgeon and porpoises in UK waters thanks to a rule from the 1300’s

  • In 2018 a total number of 366 marine animals were spotted in the Thames, including harbour porpoises, dolphins, harbour seals and grey seals

  • It is believed that there are two species of seahorse living in the river Thames thanks to a study done by the conservation charity ZSL

  • In 2006 a Northern bottlenose whale measuring 5 metres long was spotted in the Thames

  • There are 125 types of fish in the Tidal Thames (which is measured from the estuary mouth to Teddington Lock)

  • The Wels Catfish was introduced to the UK by the Duke of Bedford roughly 130 years ago who kept them in his lakes at Woburn Abbey . Now they can be found in waters across the country although they are still considered a rarity

  • Each year between April and October eels migrate up the River Thames

  • Water voles are one of the rarest river-based creatures in the UK, and is in serious danger of becoming extinct. Once found in almost every waterway in the UK, it is believed this species has now been lost in around 90% of these sites. Habitat loss and water pollution, as well as the predation by the American mink are believed to be some of the main causes of its rapid decline

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Jessica Howard

Jessica Howard

31 years old, currently living and working in London, UK.

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