Red squirrels are Scotland’s only native squirrel. There are only around 121,000 red squirrels remaining in the uk, with 80% of them in Scotland.
They are considered to be one of Britain’s most endangered mammal species. Grey squirrels have chased them away from the majority of lowland Scotland and they they continue to be a huge threat to the reds.Grey squirrels are much stronger and they out-compete the reds for food and habitat. They also carry the deadly squirrel pox virus which is decimating the red squirrel population throughout the UK.
Ardgarten, on the doorstep, is a particularly good place to spot squirrels. They are shy and can be hard to spot, but with a little patience, you may find some.
Top squirrel facts:
- Their coats range from almost black to chestnut and light brown, and their ears are especially tufty in winter
- They can swim!
- Their babies are called kittens
- They live in dreys
- They can rotate their wrists 180 degrees which means they can run up and down trees equally well
- They don’t hibernate
- They eat fungi, hazelnuts, cones, catkins and insects
If you see any, you can report the sighting to www.scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/reportsquirrel.
Local photographer Jaclyn Sparks has taken some incredible shots of red squirrels in Ardgarten. Take a look.