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What lives in woodlands?

European woodland animalsEuropean woodland animalsMost of the regions of the world that have a temperate climate are covered by farmland or cities. Some woodlands remain. In deciduous woodland, the trees lose their leaves at the onset of winter. Woodland trees and plants provide food and shelter for the animals that live there. Many of them are nocturnal: they come out only at night to hunt or to feed on plants. Some woodland animals hibernate: they spend the winter months asleep in burrows.

Deciduous woodland in summerDeciduous woodland in summer

Autumn in European deciduous woodlandAutumn in European deciduous woodland

The woodland year

Woodlands are warm and leafy in summer, but cold and bare in winter. Autumn has begun in this wood in Europe (left). The leaves on the trees change colour and fall to the ground. Toadstools grow well in the moist ground. Squirrels and jays hide stores of nuts which will last them through the winter. Dormice prepare to hibernate during the cold months to come. Small mammals, such as voles and rabbits, must look out for foxes or owls in search of a meal.

A queen bumblebee in springA queen bumblebee in spring
When spring comes, plants and flowers start to grow again. Leaves on deciduous trees burst into bud in the warmer weather. Many animals and birds make nests, give birth to their young and search for food for them. As spring turns into summer, the leaves open fully and their fruits ripen. 

Animals living in the woodland soilAnimals living in the woodland soil

Soil creatures

Less than one quarter of original temperate deciduous woodland remains today.

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