From all the research you've done so far, you'll already know that unicorns can live just about anywhere.
Of course, in the Very Olden Days it could be said that unicorns had a very specific kind of habitat. In those days unicorns were rarely found outside the Enchanted Forest, albeit they would regularly make an appearance in their local village to entertain the little children.
As we know, time went by and the unicorns retreated further and further away from the sight of the villagers - even the little children. But that doesn't mean that the places that they live have decreased.
By now you may be coming to appreciate just how common unicorns really are. That's not to say that they are easy to spot though, or that you'll just stumble across one without putting any time or dedication into your search. But with their fantastic powers of disguise, unicorns are become much more confident about venturing out into habitats that might have once be considered unusual for a unicorn to be spotted in.
For example, only last week I was on my way to pick up some supplies for my next Unicorn Expedition when I decided to stop off at a local garden centre. At first I thought I might have been getting a little over-excited but, after checking that all the right signs were there, I was certain that I had spotted a rare miniature unicorn disguised as a cheeky robin and living in the aisle where the bird feed and bird tables are on display. I couldn't believe my eyes and will be going back to check in on him again next week. I hope I can capture some pictures of him in his unicorn-form soon to show you all.
So, you see, it doesn't really matter where you live, as long as you follow the clues and have plenty of patience, you can find a unicorn just about anywhere. However, just like any creature (magical or otherwise), unicorns do have their favourite types of habitat that they will seek out above anything else.
If you're just beginning your search for unicorns, these are some of the places that you will be most likely to come across them:
Above all, unicorns still really love living in forests. I have a theory that it has a little to do with history, when pretty much all the unicorns around lived in Enchanted Forests, as well as a little bit to do with the fact that they are just nice, peaceful places to be. If you think back to the last time you were in a forest and tried to remember how you were feeling, I'd like to have a bet that 'relaxed' or 'happy' were one of the first words that came to mind.
Forests have lots of lovely places for unicorns to live and potter around in - whether they're in disguise or not. There are plenty of places to hide if they need to, there's always a nice bit of shade for when it gets too hot, and they always smell really nice too. A surprising thing to learn about unicorns is that they like to live in places that smell good, it's very rare that you will ever discover a unicorn-in-disguise living somewhere that is stinky.
Top unicorn spotting tips in the forest:
Places to look out for: small rivers and ponds in the forest, clearings with some springy grass or crunchy leaves, fallen trees, exposed tree roots, the place in the forest where it's most peaceful.
Common unicorn disguises: Blackbird, robin, chaffinch, jay, hedgehog, deer, squirrel, centipede, woodlouse.
2. Nature reserves
It might surprise you that unicorns would like to live in nature reserves, especially as they are usually places that attract lots of people.
Well, in these places unicorns can get the best of both worlds. They can easily blend in with a good disguise because there is usually a lot of wildlife around, and they also get to see lots of children which they really love.
There is normally plenty of food around and lots of shelters too, so nature reserves actually come pretty high in the places that unicorns love to live in. However, spotting a unicorn-in-disguise can be difficult in these places simply because there are a lot of animals. You will need to pay close attention to the most important clues such as hints of sparkle, a flash or rainbow colour, or an animal that doesn't belong - spotting an armadillo at Martin Mere for example should definitely get your attention.
Top unicorn spotting tips at a nature reserve:
Places to look out for: picnic areas, bird hides that look over water in particular, children's play areas, quiet spots with long grass or some trees, flower meadows.
Common unicorn disguises: duck, goose, godwit, pied wagtail, nuthatch, squirrel, mouse, shrew, badger.
Whether your nearest park is in a city or a small village, they are equally appealing to your local unicorns as places to set up home. In general, parks are peaceful and pretty places and there is enough going on to keep an inquisitive unicorn-in-disguise entertained for hours on end.
If your local park has an area for children to play games then this will be very attractive to any unicorn; and features such as small ponds, climbing frames and bug hotels will be equally as attractive to most.
Whilst visiting a park to try and spot a unicorn you could try two main approaches. Firstly you could just go ahead with what you normally do at a park - for example swinging on a swing, digging in a sandpit, or having a game of football with your friends. If you choose this approach, the key is to always keep a bit of attention focussed on what is going on around you. Is there a small bird with a wonky wing checking you out from the corner of his eye? Is there a curious pink rabbit peeking at you from under some begonias? Children having fun in a park will always be very attractive to any unicorn-in-disguise, but you'll have to be very cunning to spot one peeking at you.
The second approach to take is to sit very quietly in the park as though you were spotting birds, investigating the mini-beasts or simply having a picnic. This option will help you blend in a bit more and might cause an inquisitive unicorn to come out of its hiding place without noticing you - if you're very lucky it might have forgotten its disguise too.
Top unicorn spotting tips at a park:
Places to look out for: climbing frames, football pitches, grassed areas, picnic benches, swings, rivers, bug hotels, bird feeders.
Common unicorn disguises: pigeon, seagull, crow, thrush, ladybird, butterfly, caterpillar.
And finally ...
Don't forget to keep your notebook handy to keep track of all the clues you spot on your adventure. This will really help you build up a good picture of the habitat your local unicorn likes to live in and might even help you catch a glimpse of it in its natural state.
My top three tips for searching for unicorns in unusual habitats are:
- Keep an open mind. Remember that unicorns can be found just about anywhere, keep looking out for the key signs and you're almost certain to spot a unicorn-in-disguise eventually.
- Think of places you love to be. If you come across a place that you really love, you can be certain that there's a unicorn out there that loves it too. If you have a special place that makes you feel happy every time you go there, just take a moment to check around and see if you can find any clues.
- Try visiting your favourite places in all kinds of weather. Don't just go on your unicorn adventures when it's sunny. You can have just as much luck in your search if you venture out in frosty or rainy weather too. Just make sure you wrap up warm and make notes as to whether the clues you discover are different depending on what the weather's like.