Which famous squirrel can always be seen battling the odds to retrieve his acorn?
Red Squirrels are most often found in coniferous woods. Red Squirrels feast on hazelnuts by cracking the shell in half. You may also find pine cones that have been nibbled, leaving what looks like an apple core behind. Squirrels make a rough nest, called a ‘drey’, of twigs, leaves and strips of bark in the fork of a branch, high in the tree canopy.
Easily distinguished from the Grey Squirrel by its smaller size, reddish-brown fur (although it can look darker and duller in the winter) and tufts of hair on the end of the ears.
Strongholds are Scotland, the Lake District and Northumberland with some isolated, remnant populations further south in England and Wales including Anglesey, Formby in Lancashire, Brownsea Island in Dorset and the Isle of Wight.
Once common across the country, Red Squirrels have declined rapidly since the 1950s. The introduced Grey Squirrel has replaced our native Reds, out-competing them for resources and introducing Squirrel Pox, a disease that is fatal to them. The Wildlife Trusts are working hard to save the Red Squirrel by improving its favoured habitats, controlling Grey Squirrels and being involved in reintroduction schemes. Volunteers are needed to help with everything from surveying to habitat restoration. So why not have a go at volunteering for your local Trust? You’ll make new friends, learn new skills and help wildlife along the way.
We are part of the Wildlife Trusts movement, the UK’s leading conservation charity dedicated to all wildlife. We are your local charity, working hard to improve your local area for wildlife and for you. Since 1912, The Wildlife Trusts have been speaking out for nature in the UK. Our organisation is unique – while most of our work for wildlife takes place at local grassroots level, we have a national voice.