Saturday, October 1, 2011

Squirrel Facts: The Eurasian Red Squirrel

The red squirrel is found in both coniferous and temperate broadleaf forests throughout Europe and northern Asia. This is a completely separate species from the North American red squirrel that is found in Canada and the northern United States.

The red squirrel is somewhat smaller than the eastern gray squirrel. It is reddish in color, although the shade differs depending on region and season. It has a creamy white underbelly, and, the most distinctive feature, ear tufts, which are usually most pronounced in winter. The diet consists mostly of seeds of coniferous trees, nuts, fungi, berries, tree sap, and occasionally birds' eggs. The red squirrel will build a drey similar to the eastern gray squirrel, or may nest in tree cavities such as abandoned woodpecker nests.

In most parts of its range the red squirrel is abundant. However, tragically, in England the introduction of the larger and stronger eastern gray squirrel from North America, sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century, has pushed the red squirrel out of most of its range. This is not due to aggression by the eastern gray, as the two species are not known to be antagonistic, but is because of several factors including the conflict over available food resources, greater adaptability and breeding success of the eastern gray squirrel, and, most troubling, a disease called squirrel pox which eastern grays carry but are immune to, but which is fatal to the red squirrel. Apart from the spread of the eastern gray squirrel, the red squirrel population has also been affected by fragmentation and reduction of its native forest habitat.

Wild populations of red squirrels in the United Kingdom are now found primarily in Scotland. Efforts are underway to protect and conserve the remaining populations of red squirrels. More information about these efforts, and how you can help, can be found here.



    1. Que impotencia, pero me encantaria saber a que te referís cuándo me escribís adelante, tú RE......OL