By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 2:40 PM on 05th November 2009
More than half of British children can’t identify a crocodile while just one in five can name four basic wild animals, a new study has found.
The shocking survey found that when asked to name a series of animals, more than half of children aged between four and 12 struggled to recognise a crocodile while 44 per cent were unable to identify a leopard.
Many children also had difficulty recognising gorillas and chimpanzees while others could not tell the difference between a male and female lion.
In another disturbing statistic that could perhaps explain the lack of animal knowledge, the research found nearly a quarter of children had never visited a zoo or animal park.
As a result, just one in five of the 1000 children surveyed were able to correctly identify up to four basic wild animals.
TV presenter and wildlife expert Michaela Strachan said the trend was shocking.
‘Learning about animals is a hugely important part of a child’s education and while visiting a good zoo is a great way to do so, it isn’t always easy for parents to take their children to a zoo due to distance and cost,’ she said.
The research found that children in Northern Ireland had the poorest animal knowledge while children in Yorkshire were able to identify the largest number of animals.
The survey was carried out by videogame publisher THQ to mark the launch of childrens’ game World of Zoo.
It comes weeks after a similar survey found four out of ten children could not tell the difference between a wasp and a bee.
Children were also baffled by the difference between rodents. Almost a third of the 1600 surveyed had no idea what a mouse looked like, with six per cent confusing it with a gerbil.
And nearly two thirds also struggled to tell a toad from a frog.
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