Britain’s knowledge of nature is dwindling to worrying new levels with younger generations now less clued up than ever, according to a shocking new study.

The research, commissioned by collectible toy brand Sylvanian Families, revealed some startling insights into the nation’s poor grasp of outdoor life.

Nearly double the number of parents aged over 51 (49 per cent) said nature was one of the most important things to teach children, compared to just one in three aged under 30.

And the staggering naivety of younger adults revealed just six in ten 25 to 30 year olds knew a vixen was a female fox – a fact nearly all parents over 51 (96 per cent) knew.

In fact, one in six (17 per cent) of the younger generation of parents believed female foxes were called ‘sows’ – the name for a female pig.

Nine in ten over 51s (92 per cent) identified the fact male rabbits were called a ‘buck’, which just over half (53 per cent) of 25 to 30 year olds knew.

Meanwhile one in five (21 per cent) 25 to 30 year olds incorrectly believed male rabbits were called ‘jacks’.

The research also found younger parents appear largely clueless in identifying leaves and trees.

Sally Carnall, marketing manager for Sylvanian Families, said:

“Sadly the decline in knowing about the world around us will dwindle if parents continue to allow their children to use technology more than playing outside.

“The results reveal a worrying trend and if we conducted similar research in a future generation’s time, we might expect the nation’s knowledge of nature to dwindle further.

“Some of this confusion would be stamped out if people spent more time outside with their children teaching them about animals and plant life. Playing outside as a family also has emotional and social benefits, as well as encouraging curiosity about the world around us.”

It means children too are struggling to identify certain facts about nature as 37 per cent of children could not give the name for a female fox and 43 per cent could not name a male rabbit. One in five (21 per cent) of children also thought conkers fell from oak trees.

The survey was carried out by One Poll between 16-21 April 2015, amongst 1000 parents and children aged 7-11 years.


In order to get children outside with nature more, National Trust property Hatchlands Park in East Clandon, Surrey, is opening a new Sylvanian Families children’s nature trail. Characters from Sylvanian Families will be used on the trail to educate children about different animals, ranging from rabbits to squirrels and hedgehogs. It opens on Friday May 1 and children armed with activity sheets must complete facts about the nature they see on the trail.

For more information about the Sylvanian Families Nature Trail at Hatchlands Park National Trust, please visit: