Background

The Red Squirrel is an arboreal rodent, meaning that it lives among the trees. With a declining population, there are an approximated 140,000 red squirrels left in the wild in Britain. This is in contrast to the 2.5 million invasive grey squirrels found in the country.

Habitat

The Red Squirrel is found across both Europe as well as central and northern Asia. Living in trees they build large nests, called dreys.

Diet

Pine and spruce cones make up a large part of their diet. However, when they get the opportunity they will feed on various types of fungi and bird eggs.

Predators & Threats

The numbers of Red Squirrel have been declining ever since the introduction of the invasive Eastern Grey Squirrel, which competes for food and space. Habitat loss also has a major impact on the numbers of this rodent. It is expected that without intense conservation efforts they may disappear from Britain, by 2030. The red squirrel has a wide range of predators from large birds, Foxes, and Stoats which feed on their nests.

Facts

  • Red Squirrels show handedness, meaning they eat cones with either their right or left hand.
  • Even though they don’t hibernate, they store nuts and cones in the ground during Autumn.
  • They have four fingers and five toes.
Common Name(s)Scientific Name
Red Squirrel, Eurasian Red SquirrelSciurus vulgaris 
Size
 ~ 20 cm
Lifespan
 5 – 6 years

Best Time to Look

Less active during the winter, though they do not hibernate. The best time of day to see them is in the morning.

Where to find Red Squirrel