The county’s heaths are home to all six of the UK’s native species of reptile: grass snake, smooth snake, adder, slow worm, sand lizard and common lizard. There are more smooth snakes and sand lizards found on the heaths’ in Dorset than anywhere else in the country.
More than 5,000 species of invertebrate can be found on Dorset’s heaths, including 55 species of moths and butterflies hatching caterpillars that feed on the heath’s plant life.
There is a population of red squirrels on Brownsea Island. These are very rare in the south of England and have only survived because the island is surrounded by water preventing the invading grey squirrels from getting there.
Dorset has the world’s only managed colony of nesting mute swans at Abbotsbury. There are around 600 swans that make the sanctuary their home.
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