Red squirrels were once the only species of squirrel in Europe. This changed with the introduction of the grey squirrel to the UK from America in the late 1800s.
Spending most of their time in the tree tops, red squirrels make use of several dreys inside their range. They don't hibernate, but remain in the drey for several days at a time during bad weather.
The most recent estimates of red squirrel population size were compiled by Harris et al. (1995). They produced an estimate of 161,000 red squirrels in Great Britain, with approximately 30,000 in England, 10,000 in Wales (although recent estimates are significantly lower), and a main population of 121,000 in Scotland, representing 70-75% of the GB population.
Squirrelpox virus is deadly to red squirrels. Evidence suggests that it originated from grey squirrels transported from North America and, whilst they appear to carry a natural immunity to it, red squirrels do not. Animals infected with the virus seem to suffer a marked decline in their health and die within around two weeks of contracting it . At present, the spread of squirrelpox virus presents the greatest threat to retaining red squirrels across their current range. Between 2002 and Spring 2009 the Red Squirrel population of the Sefton Coast deciomed dramatically as a result of squirrelpox. The population at Ainsadale Nature Reserve was wiped out and those at Formby were reduced by 85%.
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I'm a blogger - and nowadays that seems to be my main occupation. Rambles from My Chair is my main blog. I’m a retired local government executive - now studying how to survive a neurological disorder that gives me various problems but, hopefully, a whole new outlook on life and an increased sense of humour and perspective. There is a saying in Sweden "man måste vara frisk för att orka vara sjuk" ~ "you have to be well to cope with being ill"....
I enjoy most forms of communication and postcards are a special favourite. I used to blog as Scriptor Senex which is Latin for Old Writer but now Google only lets me post as John Edwards.
“He’s not so old. He’s just the age that he is, that’s all.” (Gerald Hammond)