Red Squirrel

Sciurus vulgaris

  1. Wildlife
  2. Mammals
  3. Red Squirrel

About

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.

How to identify

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.

Where to find it

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.

Habitats

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

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 UK's remaining Red Squirrels by improving their favoured habitats, addressing risks from traffic and disease, being involved in reintroduction schemes and controlling grey squirrels in a few carefully selected areas in northern England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland where red squirrel populations are at risk of extinction.

Local information

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Species information

Common name
Red Squirrel
Latin name
Sciurus vulgaris
Category
Mammals
Statistics
Length: 20cm plus a tail of 18cm Weight: 280-350g Average lifespan: 3 years
Conservation status
Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.