Hi, I'm Rudi, i'm 8 years old and my favourite book is 'Tarka the Otter' by Henry Williamson. Its about the life of an otter named Tarka and British Wildlife. One night i was reading the book with my dad and i said that i wanted to see all the animals in the book, he said i should do it and call it the Tarka Challenge. My Tarka Challenge started on 1st January 2012. The book contains 89 birds, 54 land based animals, 120 plants and 56 aquatic organisms.

The rules are simple, i must either see each thing myself or photograph it using my trail camera. I will try and see each thing on my local patch (Ogmore River Catchment) but may need to look somewhere else in Britain.

Good News - Bad News

Good News

We put some black plastic sheets in the wildlife area of our garden to see if we had any wildlife. (black corrugated sheets are best). Lots of things like to hide under them like mice/voles/newts/frogs/toads/reptiles). When we checked it today there was a Slow Worm under it.

Slow Worm - Anguis fragilis
This looks like a snake but its actually a legless lizard. A slow worm is different from snakes because it can close its eyes and its tail will easily break off as a defence mechanism like a lizards. A slow worm likes to eat worms and slugs.

Bad News

Me and Dad went out for a bike ride and we spotted a dead Grass Snake. Its the first time i have seen one but it had been run over by a car on a country lane.

Grass Snake - Natrix natrix
The grass snake likes water and is really good at swimming. The grass snake is not venomous. If the grass snake feels threatened its first defence is to wriggle a lot. If that doesn't work then it squirts a really bad smelling liquid out of its bum, if it is still feeling threatened after that it will freeze and pretend to be dead sometimes holding its mouth open and letting its tongue hang out. A grass snake will eat frogs, newts, mice, voles and small birds.

Off the list .....

Grass Snake
Slow Worm


  1. Great sightings. It would be great to get the details of all of your sightings into our database at www.sewbrec.org.uk so that they can be used to help protect and conserve the wildlife you are spotting.

  2. Thanks Adam, we have just put a sighting through on your website of a Red Kite flying by our village. It was easy to do, my Dad said he would help me to put all the sightings on your recording sheet and send it to you.