FAMILIES across the country are being encouraged to take part in a nocturnal adventure this weekend to discover the secret world of wildlife.

RSBP Scotland is predicting that those who take part in the annual Big Wild Sleepout are in for a busy night of wildlife watching as the warm July weather has lead to a surge in sightings of many nocturnal creatures such as owls, bats, moths and hedgehogs.

For the fourth year running, the conservation charity is encouraging families to go on a mini-adventure and take part in the sleepout by camping in their gardens or other places.

The warm weather has led to an increase in moth and insect activity, which has meant a rise in sightings of other nocturnal wildlife out taking advantage of a good supper.

“The UK is home to 2,800 species of moths but like many nocturnal creatures they are the stuff of mystery – enigmatic species that we rarely see,” said Ben Andrew, RSPB Scotland wildlife advisor. “The warmer weather has meant species like hedgehogs, badgers, bats and owls are out earlier looking for moths and other food in gardens and outdoor spaces, providing people with the best opportunity to see them.”

Thousands of people are expected to have sleepouts in their gardens this weekend after the RSPB received a record 30,000 requests for free Big Wild Sleepout packs.

“The Sleepout aims to bring the next generation of young people a step closer to nature – spending time outside learning more about the wildlife that surrounds them,” said James Harding-Morris, Big Wild Sleepout organiser.

RSPB Scotland is also holding an organised Big Wild Sleepout at Loch Leven. Families can pitch up at the charity’s nature reserve tomorrow (Saturday) for a night of wild camping under the stars, while enjoying bat and moth walks, bushcraft activities and marshmallow toasting over the fire.

For more information about RSPB Scotland’s Big Wild Sleepout, visit: www.rspb.org.uk/Sleepout.