Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel


Latin Name (Sciurus vulgaris)

Red squirrel numbers have declined dramatically since the introduction of the American grey squirrel

They have also declined in numbers owing to a pox which is carried by the grey squirrel

Red squirrel’s fur can range from a warm reddish-brown in summer, to a deep brown with grey in winter.

The colour may be very variable, ranging from almost black to buff, yet their underside is always cream. They have a bushy tail and ear tufts.

Red squirrels live in both conifer and broadleaved woodland. They can be found at altitudes up to 2000m in the Alps and PyreneeRed squirrels eat spruce and pine seeds, acorns, berries, fungi, bark and sap tissue.  In the autumn they store surplus food either just below the ground or in the gaps in tree trunks

Red squirrels live in a spherical nest (drey) of approximately 30cm in diameter, which has a frame of twigs and is lined with moss and grass.

The drey is usually at least 6m off the ground and may be in a hole in a tree or set against the trunk and branches.
Each squirrel may use several dreys and they have a typical home range of three to seven hectares.

They do not hibernate, but are less active when weather conditions are bad and can remain in their dreys for several days at a time.

More information from the Forestry Commission