Retaining my Regular animal theme I have chosen some Red Rodents and other Red creatures for my Readers today as part of my Routine Ration for Alphabet Wednesday’s letter of the week – the letter R.
This Red Fox was very friendly and I got to know it quite well when I wandered on Ainsdale Nature Reserve in 1984.
The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is the largest of the true foxes, as well as being the most geographically spread member of the Carnivora, being distributed across the entire northern hemisphere from the Arctic Circle to North Africa, Central America, and the steppes of Asia.
Its range has increased alongside human expansion, having been introduced to Australia, where it is considered harmful to native mammal and bird populations. Because of these factors, it is listed as Least Concern for extinction by the IUCN. It is listed among the "world's 100 worst invasive species".
The species has a long history of association with humans, having been extensively hunted as a pest and furbearer for centuries, as well as being prominently represented in human folklore and mythology.
The Romans were hunting foxes by 80 AD. During the Dark Ages in Europe, foxes were considered secondary quarries, but gradually grew in importance. Cnut the Great reclassed foxes as Beasts of the Chase, a lower category of quarry than Beasts of Venery. Foxes were gradually hunted less as vermin and more as Beasts of the Chase, to the point that by the late 13th century, Edward I had a royal pack of foxhounds and a specialised fox huntsman.
Traditional foxhunting with its red coats and stirrup cups - whilst very pretty to look at - was (controversially) recognised as being out of keeping with the way modern man should approach wildlife. As result it was banned in Scotland in 2002 and in England and Wales in 2004.
Red-necked wallabies are the only species of marsupial known to be at large in the British countryside. They are not native to Britain but were introduced from Australia in about 1940. Red-necked wallabies have greyish-brown fur and, as their name suggests, they have red patches on their shoulders.
The red-necked wallaby has a patchy distribution in the UK. Small colonies are found in the Peak District in England and near Loch Lomond in Scotland, and a large colony roams freely at Whipsnade Zoo. I took these Wallaby photos in zoos.
The Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) or shining-cat, is a small arboreal mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. It is not found in the UK except in zoos where it usually hides away by day but I was fortunate to see this one early in the day at Chester Zoo. Slightly larger than a domestic cat, it has reddish-brown fur, a long, shaggy tail, and a waddling gait due to its shorter front legs. It feeds mainly on bamboo, but is omnivorous and may also eat eggs, birds, insects, and small mammals.
The Red Squirrel is native to Britain, but its future is increasingly uncertain as the introduced American grey squirrel expands its range across the mainland. There are estimated to be only 140,000 red squirrels left in Britain, with over 2.5 million greys. The Forestry Commission is working with partners in projects across Britain to develop a long-term conservation strategy that deters greys and encourages reds. These photos were all taken in the wild but at spots where they were known to come for peanuts given by humans.
The Red SquirrelSurvival Trust is a national body established to ensure the conservation and protection of the red squirrel in the UK.
In Norse mythology, Ratatosk is a red squirrel who runs up and down with messages in the world tree, Yggdrasill, and spreads gossip. In particular, he ferried insults between the eagle Veðrfölnir at the top of Yggdrasill and the dragon Níðhöggr beneath its roots.
I hope I am Right in Recognising my Recurrent Reference to wildlife is Regarded as Reasonable. I Rely on you to Reveal to me in the Remarks if it is not.
For a lot more interpretations of the letter R please visit the ABC linksite.