As the weather gets colder and wetter and the leaves are disappearing rapidly from the trees, signs of life in the wildlife world appear to be decreasing. However, beneath the carpet of reds, yellows and oranges that covers the ground, a whole new set of life is thriving.
There are thought to be millions of different species of fungi around the world that can be found in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colours, and with over 3,000 different species of mushrooms and toadstools found in the UK alone, there is plenty to look out for at this time of year.
Found in woodlands, parks and gardens, the shape of mushrooms are often thought to give away their secrets to how they disperse their seeds. One species known as the Hat Throwing Fungus ejects its spores through tiny gaps in the dense leaf litter at an acceleration that is said to be 20,000 times gravity.
Mushrooms and toadstools provide an incredibly important source of food for numerous animal species both throughout the UK and around the world, along with playing a crucial role in the healthy function of their native eco-systems.
However, some species are incredibly deadly and can even lead to fatal consequences if they are eaten, particularly by people. There are 14 different species of poisonous mushrooms in the UK including the Death Cap Toadstool which looks scarily similar to some our most edible species. Therefore, foraging for mushrooms in the wild should only be undertaken by those who are very adept at identifying different mushroom species.