Extinct Animals from Dark Age Britain
from Dark Age Britain
A Saxon confronting an Auroch -   Nash Ford Publishing


Lynx -   Nash Ford Publishing

White-Tailed Sea Eagle -   Nash Ford Publishing
  • During the Dark Ages, there were several animals around in Britain that you will not see today.
  • They have become 'extinct' in Britain. This means that all those animals have died or been killed. There are no more left.
  • Many of these animals became extinct because they were hunted by man. Others lost their habitat (where they liked to live), often when man chopped down trees.

Animals we have lost from Britain:

  • Aurochs: Pronounced Ow-Rocks. These were huge cows, up to 2m tall. They were still around in North Wales in late Roman times. They may have survived into the 7th century. The drinking horns in the Sutton Hoo ship burial were from aurochs. But these may have come from France or Germany. Aurochs lived there until the 10th & 12th centuries. It's possible that bulls on Pictish stones are aurochs. The last auroch in the World died in Poland in 1627.
  • Beavers: Probably extinct in Britain by the 16th century. You can still find the name Beaver in Saxon place-names. Like Beverley in East Yorkshire. Small groups have recently been reintroduced to the wild.
  • Brown Bears: They died out in Britain during the 10th century. They are shown on Pictish stones.
  • Great Bustard: The heaviest flying bird in the World. It is the symbol of Wiltshire, but became extinct in 1832. It has recently been reintroduced to Salisbury Plain.
  • Lynx: Survived in caves at Craven in West Yorkshire until about AD 600. Possibly shown on 9th century Pictish stones.
  • Reindeer: They may have survived in the Scottish Highlands until the 10th century, or on Orkney until the 12th century. They are shown on Pictish stones and written about in Viking sagas.
  • White-Tailed Sea Eagle: Our biggest eagle. It was once found all across Britain. Still in Southern England in the 1780s. Widespread in Scotland until persecuted and shot by gamekeepers in Victorian times. Became extinct in 1917. Norwegian birds continued to nest in Scotland occasionally and a small group have recently been reintroduced to the wild. Probably the bird shown on the Staffordshire Hoard plaque. Also found on Pictish stones.
  • Wild Boar: Popular for hunting. Survived until Tudor times. In recent years, some have escaped from farms and live in the wild. Shown on the Saxon Benty Grange Helmet and the Sutton Hoo Clasps. Also on Pictish stones.
  • Wolves: Wolves probably died out in England in the early 16th century. They survived in Scotland until about 1740. Shown on Pictish stones.


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