Wildlife and habitats at Brownsea Island

Thriving natural habitats - including woodland, heathland, lagoon and seashore - create a unique haven for wildlife.

Sika deer

Britain's second largest breed of deer was introduced to the island from Japan in 1896. The deer quickly discovered that they could swim across the water to the Isle of Purbeck, where they established new herds. Sika deer on the island are quite shy, so will often be found hiding in in dense tree and plant cover.

Red squirrels

Almost extinct in Southern England, red squirrels are the most important pine-feeding creatures we have here. Most active in spring and autumn at sunrise and sunset, they can be found in all wooded areas of the island. They are very shy and can be difficult to spot and partly-eaten cones may be the only clues.