7 of the best wildlife-themed puzzles | BBC Wildlife Magazine

Puzzles are great for mindfulness because they require focusing on one thing and are very tactile. There is also evidence that they can help improve memory and help prevent dementia. They are a good tool for developing skills in children, such as problem solving and patience, while educating them about the subject that intrigues them.

More pieces doesn’t necessarily equate to increased difficulty, some smaller puzzles may have difficult to work with color gradients or no flat edges to get you started.

With winter fast approaching, we’ve been busy testing a few – and really enjoyed it!

If you’re interested in more reviews, check out our guides for more wildlife-themed games, gifts for wildlife lovers, and podcasts.


Night Reef 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

Hove, Sussex-based illustrator Elena Essex combines bright, dazzling color with wildlife in her four beautiful 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles for teens and adults (recommended ages 14+). Dive into the depths of the ocean with Night Reef (illustrated), explore the amazing diversity of animal species with Rainbow Kingdom, solve puzzles about groovy mushrooms with Woodland Magic or try its circular puzzle with Bird Paradise.

She has also produced a world map puzzle with animals and landmarks in her 300 piece puzzle for kids (recommended for ages 7 and up). A full-size color poster is included with each poster to help complete the puzzle, and the puzzle box is made from recycled materials.

Reviewed by Megan Shersby, Editorial and Digital Coordinator, BBC Wildlife


1000 piece jigsaw puzzle Marsh owl

Angela Harding Swamp Owl Jigsaw Puzzle

Based in Rutland, Angela Harding is a renowned fine art painter and illustrator who specializes in lino prints. His work will be particularly familiar to readers of the RSPB Birds book by Miranda Krestovnikoff, which is illustrated throughout by Harding, and The path of salt and wild silencee by Raynor Winn, both of which feature Harding artwork on their jackets.

In addition to notebooks and tote bags, a number of puzzles have been reproduced from his art prints, including Marsh Owl (pictured above), Look Out and Rose Cottage. Each contains 500 or 1,000 pieces, is made from FSC materials and comes with a handy reference poster.

Reviewed by Megan Shersby, Editorial and Digital Coordinator, BBC Wildlife

1000 piece water jigsaw puzzle

Aquatic puzzle

There are many contemporary puzzle brands, which design beautiful and unusual puzzles for adults. But there aren’t many with the high level of eco-credentials that Cloudberries has.

First, the puzzles themselves are made from recycled paper and cardboard and printed with vegetable-based inks. Boxes are sustainably sourced and shipping is carbon neutral – offset through Carbonfund.org. And separately, the company works in partnership with Eden Rainforest Projects to plant a tree for every puzzle sold in countries like Indonesia, Nepal and Madagascar.

The designs are diverse and range from 500 to 2000 die-cut pieces that fit together satisfactorily when you put them together. Some have simple color block patterns (for hardcore puzzlers), others a more specific design that you can follow visually. Wildlife lovers will love Aquatic (pictured above), Wildlife, Whale, Hybrids, Shells, and Rooster – which vary in difficulty but all cater to adults in their aesthetics. That’s not to say a determined teenager couldn’t take on one…

Reviewed by Tanya Jackson, Acting Group Digital Editor, BBC Wildlife and BBC Countryfile

Zoology Puzzle 1000 pieces

Wrendale's Safari Puzzle

The ever-popular Wrendale designs featuring artist Hannah Dale’s characters can now be found on puzzles! There are six in the range: ‘Country Set’, ‘A Dog’s Life’, ‘Garden Birds’, ‘Zoology’ (pictured above), ‘Farmyard Friends’ and ‘Country Set Christmas’.

All six designs feature more than 100 detailed illustrated illustrations on its theme (for example, penguins and elephants are among those featured in “Zoology”, long-tailed tits and goldfinches are among the species featured in “Garden Birds ”), are made up to 1000 pieces, and when complete, the colorful border contains a verse inspired by the natural world. The packaging is plastic-free and the puzzle itself is sustainably sourced.

Reviewed by Megan Shersby, Editorial and Digital Coordinator, BBC Wildlife

Read more Wrendale product reviews in our wildlife lover gifts and wildlife themed sock articles.

Amazing Insects Glow in the Dark 100 Piece Puzzle

Amazing glow-in-the-dark insect puzzle

Aimed at children (and adults) aged five and up, this fabulous puzzle is made from 100 pieces (made from recycled materials) and features a range of colorful insects including beetles, grasshoppers and butterflies.

However, there is an added fun twist to this particular puzzle! Turn off the lights and you’ll find this puzzle actually glows in the dark! Intended to captivate any young naturalist, it’s a great way to connect children to nature. Other wildlife-themed puzzles in this glow-in-the-dark series from Mudpuppy include Frogs & Lizards, In The Forest, Rainforest, Under The Sea and Dinosaur.

Reviewed by Megan Shersby, Editorial and Digital Coordinator, BBC Wildlife

1000 piece nature reserve jigsaw puzzle

RSPB Kingfisher Puzzle

Illustrated by wildlife artist Pollyanna Pickering, this river nature reserve themed square puzzle is quite charming. The puzzle features a beautiful river scene with a vibrant kingfisher in the foreground and other species of birds and wildlife along the edge of the puzzle, making it an ideal gift for any bird lover .

At 1,000 pieces, the puzzle is challenging enough to satisfy serious puzzle enthusiasts without being too intimidating for the less experienced.

Accompanied by a guide of helpful illustrations, this eco-puzzle took a few Sunday afternoons to complete. The border and river sections can be a little tricky to put together and took some patience, but of course that’s part of the joy of making a puzzle.

Reviewed by Carys Matthews, Group Digital Editor, BBC Countryfile and BBC Wildlife

Puzzle Wolf in flowers 185 pieces

bloomig-wolf-cut-out-2_CMYK

If you’re looking for something a little different, try this colorful and absorbing 185 piece. Like all Wentworth products, it’s made in the UK (from sustainable sources) and features Victorian-inspired ‘whimsical’ pieces, shaped to the theme – here wolves, flowers and ornate spirals.

These are not your standard puzzles. Aside from the obvious quality of the wooden pieces, they are a law in themselves – middle pieces can have straight edges and no two are the same. I started mid-morning and emerged mid-afternoon – just the right level of taxing.

Reviewed by Sarah McPherson, Editor, BBC Wildlife


Main image: Young woman doing a puzzle. © The Good Brigade/Getty