The Scottish Cairngorms must surely be one of Britain’s harshest environments. Living in this spectacular mountain range, which was chiseled by glaciers and rainfall for millennia, truly is a battle for survival each and every day.
Culling animals is almost always controversial. In this day and age, killing wildlife – whatever your goal – can attract attention from people who fundamentally oppose such measures. In many cases, culling has questionable motives, other alternatives are available, and the evidence supposedly promoting such a move is scientifically unsound (here at The Nature Nook, we believe that badger culling in an attempt to eradicate bTB falls under this category).
If you ask a child to draw a toadstool or mushroom, chances are they will produce something that looks very much like the fly agaric. This distinctive species has a thick white stem topped with a bulbous red cap, which is dotted with white blotches. Its autumnal abundance and vibrant, gaudy colours have made the fly agaric probably the most recognised and iconic of all our mushrooms.
At the bottom of a freshwater stream in Britain, a thin, elongated fish undulates through the water. It looks a bit like an eel, but closer examination reveals it is something much different, and much stranger. It only has a single nostril (on the top of its head) and its large suctorial mouth is bristling with sharp, inward-pointing teeth of varying sizes, arranged in neat concentric circles.