Red Squirrels

A

Anonymous

Guest
What is the story re Red Squirrels in Britain?

I remember when I was a kid reading, seeing on the tv or somewhere that the original squirrel inhabitants of the British Isles were gradually driven out of England by their more hardcore grey cousins.

My partner swears blind that she saw a red and a grey one co-existing happily together in our local park!
 

Spookdaddy

Cuckoo
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
7,048
Reaction score
9,338
Points
314
Location
Midwich
Probably wishful thinking unfortunately.

Red squirrels are most common in the north of Scotland with limited populations in the far north of England and Wales and a couple of isolated pockets elsewhere (the Isle of Wight, I think, and Norfolk). I’ve seen them in Cumbria and the Highlands of Scotland. Grey squirrels were your original alien-grey invaders coming from North America some time in the 1800's. The two species are territorially exclusive but I think that I've read somewhere that there is a genetic mutation in grey squirrels that can give their coat a reddish tinge, which might explain what your partner saw.

On a scarier note wasn't there a story in the Fortean Times a while ago about rats and squirrels interbreeding? I think the Archway area was mentioned.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Here in the midwestern US there is a genetic mutation that produces a reddish tinge in gray squirrels.I,however,have grave doubts about interbreeding between rats and squirrels.As I remember,so did FT.
 

Spookdaddy

Cuckoo
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
7,048
Reaction score
9,338
Points
314
Location
Midwich
Major Kraut said:
I,however,have grave doubts about interbreeding between rats and squirrels.As I remember,so did FT.

Yes, I'm pretty sure it's an urban legend but not a nice thought all the same. I mean, where would it end - Piranha and alligators getting it on in the sewer. Imagine the little bugger that resulted from that liaison crawling up your waste-pipe!
 

FelixAntonius

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Aug 8, 2001
Messages
1,160
Reaction score
221
Points
114
About twenty years ago, I saw a red tinged, grey squirrel, (if you follow what I mean), by the lake at St Albans, on the site of Roman Veralanium.

One theory, as to the real Red Squirrels decline, is that by the time any one began to study them. Their real habitat had ceased to exist & they were observed in a false habitat. Therefore, any atempts to preserve them were based on false premises.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I'm sure I read somewhere that red squirrels were being reintroduced to the country as a whole, but they probably wouldn't last long because the grey squirrels are bigger and stronger and wouldn't share their habitat.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
There's supposed to be a thriving community of Red Squirrels in some sort of nature reserve on land owned by Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool.
 

Breakfastologist

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Jul 31, 2001
Messages
919
Reaction score
27
Points
49
There are various places where Red Squirrels survive, often on islands where there are no grey squirrels or in more remote locations.

It is not clear how the grey squirrels actually harm red squirrels, though, as they do not seem to compete very much.
 

ufonerd

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 10, 2001
Messages
87
Reaction score
2
Points
37
I live just out side of durham and there are still red squirrels in the woods near me but I dont know for how long as a few months ago I saw a gray squirrel for the first time in this wood?.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I live just outside Durham as well (southwest), and our village supposedly has red and grey squirrels. I've only ever seen greys.

Newcastle seems to have greys in the city (certainly in Jesmond Dene/ Heaton park) and reds just outside the city (I've seen them near Wylam).

There's a distribution map of the two at
http://www.biology.qmw.ac.uk/squirrel/skiasqdist.html

Incidentally, the easiest place in the country to see red squirrels is probably Formby, where there are hordes of them, and they'll come up to people to be fed. This is an introduced population from Denmark, apparently, and they're a lot darker than the native reds.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Letchworth, Hertfordshire is famous for its black squirrels - which are actually
a very rare mutation of the grey variety.
They were first recorded in 1944 and for some reason they seem to stay within
a four mile radius of the town centre.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Denmark? Hmm, I've hardly ever seen squirrels here. But perhaps that is because I lived on an island, and they didn't want to cross the bridge.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
If you saw a red squirrel next to a grey squirrel you would know as they look totally different.

They don't look like they belong to the same species apart from their size being roughly the same.

Red squirrels are really red too - you couldn't confuse it with a red tinged grey squirrel.

I believe that you get black squirrels in Princeton, New Jersey too - I remember seeing them when I was over there. Very cute.
 

carole

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 1, 2001
Messages
2,305
Reaction score
95
Points
79
There are no grey squirrels in Jersey, only red ones.

Carole
 

Ioethe

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Sep 6, 2001
Messages
105
Reaction score
2
Points
49
carole said:
There are no grey squirrels in Jersey, only red ones.

It's the same on the Isle of Wight...for a while they actually had quarentine procedures to stop grey squirrels getting there.

On a side note, there's an albino squirrel in Brixton at the moment...

PS Carole, what does your signature mean?
 

marion

Ungnoing.
Joined
Nov 3, 2001
Messages
1,574
Reaction score
243
Points
94
Moving away from red suirrels slightly - does anyone know where there are any pics of green squirrels ? I can't find any on the net ,
Marion
 

evilsprout

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Jul 27, 2001
Messages
1,217
Reaction score
39
Points
69
Marion said:
does anyone know where there are any pics of green squirrels ? I can't find any on the net

Erm, any reason why there should be pics of green squirrels out there?

The only picture of an unusually green mammal I can think of is the one of a green kitten, that was born in Denmark in the mid 90's.
 

carole

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 1, 2001
Messages
2,305
Reaction score
95
Points
79
Ioethe said:
PS Carole, what does your signature mean?

It's Latin for 'Beam me up, Scotty', Marion!

Carole
 

marion

Ungnoing.
Joined
Nov 3, 2001
Messages
1,574
Reaction score
243
Points
94
carole said:
It's Latin for 'Beam me up, Scotty', Marion!

Carole

Huh? Wha ? I think Ioethe wanted to know , but interesting anyway :)
Marion
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Just my 2p'th

Apparently, though, even red squirrels are not truly native. The original British squirrels were teal-grey with white undersides. The heraldic pattern known as Vair, is meant to depict multiple squirrel hides stitched together. How hell me know that? Me study heraldry as hobby.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Red Dalek said:
There's supposed to be a thriving community of Red Squirrels in some sort of nature reserve on land owned by Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool.

There are Red Squirrels at Freshfields nature reserve up the coast from Bootle, I saw some in a residential st on the way from the station to the reserve.
 

lopaka

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Sep 17, 2001
Messages
2,015
Reaction score
64
Points
79
Britain's red squirrel on the rebound

Tuesday, June 7, 2005 Posted: 1413 GMT (2213 HKT)


LONDON, England (AP) -- Rare native red squirrels reintroduced to a pine forest are set for a bumper breeding year, conservationists said Tuesday.

The European Squirrel Initiative said the first red squirrels reintroduced to Newborough forest in Anglesey, an island off the north coast of Wales, in 2003 produced 23 young last year.

This spring, seven litters have already been produced, and with many adult females breeding twice a year, the outlook for 2005 is extremely positive, they said.

"We are delighted to see the red squirrels returning to their old haunts," said Craig Shuttleworth of the community group, Friends of the Anglesey Red Squirrels.

"This is a terrific achievement when nationally the red squirrel is still in decline."

Until recently Anglesey, like many other parts of Britain, was dominated with gray squirrels, which were introduced in 1876 from North America and have rapidly driven out the native reds.

More than 500 gray squirrels were removed from the forest on Anglesey before the reds -- donated by British zoos and private breeders -- were returned.

The red squirrels have been provided with nesting boxes and fitted with radio collars so that they can be monitored.

The red squirrel is protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act which prohibits any unauthorized killing, theft or sale of the creatures.

The Wildlife Trust says there are only 161,000 red squirrels in Britain, compared with 2.5 million gray squirrels.

The plight of the native red squirrel has been highlighted by the European Squirrel Initiative, which represents landowners, conservationists and foresters seeking to protect the natural environment.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

http://edition.cnn.com/2005/TECH/scienc ... uirrel.ap/
 

TVgeek

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
May 15, 2002
Messages
752
Reaction score
35
Points
49
PLEASE come an take away all the red squirrels you
can carry! I'm constantly chasing them away from
the birdfeeders, tripping over their stashes of
black walnuts (buried in the ground no less)
and I've even had to add wiremesh to the chimney
to keep them from playing Santa Claus and sliding
down into the furnace!

Although I can't complain -- my mom in Northern
Minnesota has a black bear that has started regularly
investigating her birdfeeders...

TVgeek
 

escargot

Disciple of Marduk
Joined
Aug 24, 2001
Messages
35,585
Reaction score
49,184
Points
334
Location
HM The Tower of London
I've only seen one red squirrel in the wild, and that was in a park in Warsaw last year. :D
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I saw a very reddish looking squirrel the other day - it was as red as the pictures of red squirrels i've seen on its legs, but somewhat greyer on its back, and seemed to have shorter fur than the average grey squirrel too. However, i think it was a red-tinged mutant of the grey squirrel, rather than an actual red squirrel, as it was the same size as a normal grey (reds are quite a bit smaller IIRC) and was in the same group of trees as a few other grey squirrels, who were all scampering about (possibly a family group).

I've seen other grey squirrels with reddish bits of fur before, but this one was a much redder one. Perhaps there's something about the British/European habitat that makes red fur an advantage (autumn leaf colours or something, maybe?) and thus red fur mutations are more likely to appear over here than in the grey squirrels' natural habitat?
 

Bullseye

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
921
Reaction score
289
Points
99
Reds are a lot smaller than Greys,they also have the "ear tufts",quite easy to tell apart.
The occasional grey can be a bit "redder" than normal.
Greys are harder to see against tree trunks as most trunks are a shade of grey anyway !.
The Reds I've seen up in Cumbria all had different coloured tails,some were red,some blonde,black,grey,and all shades in between.Not sure if this is local to Cumbria or not as thats the only place in the UK that I've seen 'em.(Greys only down here in Sussex,local name for them "Scuds")
The Reds I've seen in Austria were very dark brown/almost black !
Have seen 5 albino's, 3 of which in tha last year or so .
 

Min Bannister

Possessed dog
Joined
Sep 5, 2003
Messages
5,067
Reaction score
7,542
Points
314
lopaka said:
Britain's red squirrel on the rebound
Then again maybe not.. :(

BBC
A virus is placing Scotland's dwindling red squirrel population under threat, conservationists have warned.

Squirrel pox is said to have been carried over the border by grey squirrels migrating north from Cumbria.

Red squirrels with the virus will suffer skin ulcers, lesions and scabs, with swelling and discharge around the eyes, mouth, feet and genitals.

The Moredun Research Institute near Edinburgh found the virus after taking blood samples from grey squirrels.

Grey squirrels are seldom harmed by the virus, but red squirrels have no immunity and usually die within 15 days.

Scientists say it is the first evidence of squirrel pox virus in southern Scotland and has serious implications for the endangered red squirrel population.

Infected animals resemble rabbits with myxomatosis and are sometimes found shivering and lethargic.

Roger Cook, the chief executive of the European Squirrel Initiative, urged people to report any sightings of sick or dead red squirrels.

Elly Hamilton, a red squirrel conservation officer from the Scottish Borders, said this was the first convincing case of the pox crossing the border.

She said: "All we know is that the grey squirrels carry it. They are unaffected clinically by it so they act as a reservoir host for the disease. They pass it into red squirrels, who once they have caught it, die within two weeks."

The disease was first confirmed in grey squirrels in East Anglia in the 1980s, Ms Hamilton said.

It had been working its way north since, she added.

"It is believed that where grey squirrels are carrying antibodies to this virus that they replace red squirrels 20 times faster than they would do normally.

"So they are a contributing factor to red squirrels by greys in most of England," said Ms Hamilton.
I hate grey squirrels. Red ones are really sweet though.
 
Top