Sunday, 8 February 2015

Species of the week 6 - Red Squirrel

Peek - a - boo!
The red squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris a favourite amongst so may people and I am so lucky to have them in my local neighbourhood. This is a short blog post with some of my pictures to show just how cute they are.

Red Squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris - Local Neighbourhood
 I am not sure how many red squirrels there actually are in my neighbourhood. I think I have seen at least two different ones but I can't be sure....Fortunately I have not seen any grey squirrels in the area.

Red squirrels live in trees and build a nest called a drey and generally live alone. However they can be social and if you do get the chance to watch them in courtship it is brilliant. They dance around trees chasing one another - well I guess its actually the male chasing the lady!
Red Squirrel up high in a tree munching on nuts - Local Neighbourhood
Red squirrels eat a variety of food such as pine or larch cones, fungi and shrubs and trees. The evidence I have found is hazelnut shells and pictured below are the cones that I have found. The first pic was taken on a barrel at work and he or she obviously used this perch a lot after a closer look I found a lot more on the ground. And the third picture below was taken near home. I particularly like this picture as I was just walking up the road and there on a fence post was perched a well nibbled cone with bits of debris around it. Who knows how many people had walked past it!!

Larch cone nibbled by squirrel
Lots of evidence of cone nibbling!
Pine cone nibbled by squirrel
And just to finish off a squirrel heading down a tree at high speed. They really are characters and great to watch. If you want to see them in Cumbria good places to visit are Dodd Wood where they have feeders and Whinlatter Forest.
Sources of Info: (Accessed 8 February 2015)

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