Animal Life

Southern damselfly small

The Pebblebed heaths present a haven for wildlife and a fantastic opportunity to view many rarer or threatened species. 

Over 140 bird species have been recorded on the heaths, of which 66 breed regularly. Of these, 28 are of conservation concern, with the Dartford warbler, the Nightjar and the Hobby being of particular significance. Nine species of reptile and amphibian have also been recorded including slow worm, adder, grass snake, smooth snake (since 2009), the common lizard, the common frog, common toad, the palmate newt and the smooth newt. With the exception of the sand lizard, all other native UK species of reptile have been recorded. Over 30 species of mammal are also known to use the heaths, 17 of which are protected under European legislation. Seven of which are bats, including the Greater and Lesser horseshoe bats.

The heaths and associated vegetation have long been known to be superb for butterflies with 54 species recorded, 23 of which are commonly recorded annually. Twelve of these are recognised as priority species on English biodiversity lists, whilst seven are considered as Key Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. These comprise the Heath Fritillary, High Brown Fritillary, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Silver-studded Blue, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Brown Hairstreak and Marsh Fritillary. Specific conservation works are undertaken to promote Silver-studded blue populations.

Dragonflies and damselflies are also well represented with 26 species recorded, 19 of which are seen annually. Six species are known to be nationally scarce (Downy Emerald, Hairy Dragonfly, Ruddy Darter, Small Red Damselfly, White-Legged Damselfly), with the southern Damselfly a European protected species.

Other animal groups present on the heaths include moths (382 species), spiders (78 species), beetles (48 species), ants bees and wasps (87 species) and grasshoppers and crickets (18 species), although these should not be considered as complete lists as further research is required. 

UK Biodiversity Action Plan species found on the Pebblebed heaths

Common Name

Scientific Name

Barn Owl

Tyto alba

Brown Hare

Lepus europaeus

Cirl Bunting

Emberiza cirlus

Common Dormouse

Muscardinus avellanarius


Numenius arquata

Greater Horseshoe Bat

Rhinolophus ferrumequinum

Marsh Fritillary

Euphydryas aurinia


Caprimulgus europaeus


Lutra lutra

Pearl Bordered Fritillary

Boloria euphrosyne


Primula vulgaris

Southern Damselfly

Coenagrion mercuriale


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