Red Squirrels

oldrover

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Just been on the news here, apparently 9 reds have been found dead recently on Angelsey. Bangor Uni is investigating whether this is the result of the adenovirus, which has been identified on the island. It plays hell with squirrels.
 

chris138

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XBergMann

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There's a guy in Denmark who has a pet red squirrel which he takes for walks every day on a lead.

He found it as an abandoned baby and took it in, much the same way as I found my cat but cats aren't unusual like squirrels

Here's the video ....aaah

 
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ramonmercado

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Is Heseltine spreading this?

A MEDIEVAL STRAIN OF LEPROSY IS INFECTING SQUIRRELS IN THE UK
ONLY THREE ANIMALS – INCLUDING HUMANS – ARE SUSCEPTIBLE TO THE DISEASE

Leprosy was a fact of life in Medieval England. Back then, there were so many people infected with the disease that a minimum of 320 facilities were built to care for people infected with leprosy on the outskirts of town or near crossroads. But infections gradually declined, and leprosy has been incredibly rare in the United Kingdom for centuries. Now it’s back, spotted in a population of red squirrels on a small island off the English coast.

In a paper published today in Science, researchers announced that they had identified two strains of leprosy-causing bacteria – Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis – in populations of red squirrels around the UK. It is only the third animal, after humans and armadillos, known to be susceptible to the disease.

Leprosy is a disease caused by a bacterial infection that damages the skin and nerves, and has been infecting humans for thousands of years. While not life threatening, it can lead to very visible symptoms like skin lesions and nerve damage in the extremities. In the past, these lesions and nerve damage were feared greatly, and people infected with the disease were forced into quarantine. ...

http://www.popsci.com/medieval-stra...63f65b8a9fe0007a97529&utm_medium=&utm_source=
 

Dickydevo

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For an interesting summary of why the belief that grey squirrels were introduced into England at Henbury Hall near Macclesfield in the 19th Century is NOT true,read `Past Times of Macclesfield Vol 3` (ISBN 978-1-4456-5821-6) by Dorothy Bentley Smith (2016).She happens to be an acquaintance of mine and I can vouch for her diligence as a historian but she hasn`t asked me to put this here and it`s not supposed to be a "plug".See pp 57-58 of the book. Sorry,the belief IS true,but the author tries to show that the greys cannot have been introduced at Henbury.
 

amyasleigh

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Opportunity (after my charitably laying-off for a while) to chunter on afresh, about my periodic visits to the Isle of Wight – southern Britain’s best, and nearly last, red-squirrel refuge. Most recent squirrel experience there was on Nov. 22nd. Ended up time-constrained, and reckoning, “will visit the Wight Nature Fund reserve in the east of the island, where squirrels are habituated, around the middle of the day – acknowledged not the best time of the day for wildlife action-- if I’m lucky, fine; if not, there’ll be another time”. As things came about, I was lucky: got to the reserve’s “Squirrel Central” hide, about twelve noon: a couple of reserve staff were there, conducting their “wardening” business: also a squirrel (maybe a particular “pet” of theirs?) within the hide, and then running in and out, totally unafraid – approaching within inches of me; alternately down on the ground below, and up in and around the hide and its approaches. After some twenty minutes, he disappeared into the adjacent woodland, and wasn’t seen again. However – I rate any squirrel encounter on the Island, a success. I stayed for about an hour: no more squirrels, but plenty of assorted bird action, especially by great and blue tits, always abundant here.

I consulted the wardening staff, about what is or is not good to feed to red squirrels, assuming that one is able to get sufficiently “up close and personal” with them to achieve same. I learnt: brazil nuts, and suet, are bad. (Almonds likewise, I believe.) Peanuts are also not advisable – too many peanuts for red squirrels, can cause bone thinning / bones becoming brittle. Pistachio nuts (which were what I had with me – the best that had seemed obtainable at the Co-op supermarket in Newport) were reckoned probably similar to peanuts, so not a very good idea. Rated good to feed to squirrels were: hazelnuts, filberts, pine nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, coconut, and fruit in general. Are these red squirrels fussy little buggers, or what?
 

rynner2

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Prince Charles backs madcap plans to sterilise Cornwall's grey squirrels with Nutella
By Oli_Vergnault | Posted: March 01, 2017

Prince Charles has backed a government plan to sterilise Cornish grey squirrels using traps filled with Nutella.
The totally nuts idea is looking to reduce the population of the grey squirrels in the county and the rest of the UK to protect Britain's native red squirrels species.

According to the £39,000 scheme the grey rodents will be lured into eating an oral contraceptive, which the government's Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) believe will reduce their numbers by more than 90%, from 3.5 million to less than 300,000 over five years.

Previous tests have found that the hazelnut spread is good for attracting the grey squirrels.
After conducting trials in woodlands the York-based agency said it had established that red squirrels, voles and mice will be too small to open the baited boxes with hinged flaps, leaving the contraceptives for their intended target.

The Duke of Cornwall is understood to have given the idea his backing at a meeting with members of the UK Squirrel Accord – an initiative he devised three years ago to control grey squirrels.
It comes as it has been revealed that grey squirrels in Cornwall are being over fed and becoming increasingly obese.

Lord Charles Kinnoull, the chairman of the Squirrel Accord,said: "It is the most exciting prospect I have seen for controlling greys.
"I don't harbour a great extermination instinct but I am interested in protecting our broadleaf trees and there being red squirrels around for my children to see.
"In order to do that we have to reduce the grey population very substantially and this will be a very important weapon in the armoury."

Native to the eastern half of North America, grey squirrels were first introduced to Britain in the 1870s and are now widely distributed across the UK. Red squirrels only thrive in the wild on Tresco, on the Isle of Wight and in Scotland.

etc...

http://www.cornwalllive.com/prince-...with-nutella/story-30171542-detail/story.html
 

amyasleigh

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The Duke of Cornwall is understood to have given the idea his backing at a meeting with members of the UK Squirrel Accord – an initiative he devised three years ago to control grey squirrels.
It comes as it has been revealed that grey squirrels in Cornwall are being over fed and becoming increasingly obese.

So, still better eating -- and easier to hunt? I'm all for reducing grey squirrel populations by all means possible; including more use of them as food. (I've eaten grey squirrel -- stewed, it's very nice -- tastes a lot like rabbit.)
 

hunck

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Red Squirrels reportedly doing well in woodland near Aberdeen

Not sure if this is news as Scotland is known as one of their remaining strongholds but good to hear anyway.

In woodland outside Aberdeen, the number of red squirrels have been rising and there is absolutely no trace of the non-native greys.

Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) and Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels (SSRS) made the discovery after years of conservation work in Countesswells and Foggieton woods

Matt Nuttall, SSRS Conservation Officer, said: ‘We are extremely pleased by the results of our monitoring work.’

Mr Nuttall now hopes ‘these crucial forests becomes strongholds for red squirrels in the coming years’.
 

David Plankton

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I was looking through photos of a local group on flickr and someone has taken a pic of a Red Squirrel in County Durham. At Derwent Reservoir, I think.
 

Swifty

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So, still better eating -- and easier to hunt? I'm all for reducing grey squirrel populations by all means possible; including more use of them as food. (I've eaten grey squirrel -- stewed, it's very nice -- tastes a lot like rabbit.)
I had the SAS survival handbook, it details a method to catch squirrels .. cut down/kick down etc a small enough tree, steal some barbed wire, wrap the barbed wire in spirals up the shaft, set the trap in areas with squirrels then retrieve the squirrels.

.. and NSFW .. contains swearing and vomiting

 

maximus otter

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Grey squirrel is delicious. l sem to remember Hugh Fearlessly Eats It All mentioning a gourmet restaurant that had it on the menu as "Flightless Partridge".

I used to casserole wood pigeon and squirrel in my one-man slow cooker. Cover the meat in seasoned flour, brown in olive oil, then put it into the slow cooker with chicken stock and a faggot of herbs: delicious! Serve with brown rice.

Damn! Now l'm hungry...

maximus otter
 

David Plankton

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amyasleigh

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It's been a year since last time; so I feel that I can get away with boring loggers-on again, about my experiences with the Isle of Wight's prime red-squirrel site: the nature reserve near Sandown, where these usually shy creatures are habituated by the staff; and frequently show up, relatively unafraid of people -- sometimes, bold enough to take food from folks' hands.

My last trip there, was in mid-December. Approximately two hours (1000 -- 1200) spent there: during which, at least two distinguishable-from-each-other squirrels -- never more than one at a time -- showed up and did their traditional agile-in-the-trees stuff, close at hand, for some minutes at a time. One ran along the decking which leads to the bird hide which is reckoned the reserve's "squirrel central"; did not, however, come close enough to be fed with the "wardens'-seal-of-approval" stuff with which I had equipped myself (walnuts, and sunflower seeds). Anyway, some indication that the island's (exclusively red) squirrel population, reckoned at about 3,000, would seem still be doing well.

As pretty well always, abundant bird life at this venue -- very plentiful great and blue tits and chaffinches; and, delightfully, a tree-creeper observable for a couple of minutes, doing its characteristic thing.
 

maximus otter

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It's been a year since last time; so I feel that I can get away with boring loggers-on again, about my experiences ...with red-squirrels...

Never boring; they are delightful! Here's a picture I took years ago at the Red Squirrel Cafe, Aviemore:

Red_squirrel_Photoshopped.jpg


Let's all support these entrancing wee creatures: Eat a grey squirrel for England!

maximus otter
 

amyasleigh

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maximus otter -- thanks -- gorgeous picture. Red squirrels are just so very sweet...

I've been mightily tickled by an anecdote on a thread on another part of this board, telling of a little lad from a poor area of Glasgow, on a camping trip run by his school or "whoever", to the Highlands. Seeing a red squirrel for the first time, he exclaimed delightedly, "Look at the wee ginger monkey !" I've been tending to think of the species -- non-zoologically -- as "wee ginger monkeys" ever since.
 

amyasleigh

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A -- very -- small-time red-squirrel-related item, re something recently witnessed: am just back from a week in north-west England, not primarily natural-history-focused. Various parts visited, travel having been by car. This mode of getting around is not, on the whole, very conducive to seeing squirrels; we saw none "of either colour", during the whole week. However, roadside signs observed -- one a little way south of Appleby, the other a little way south of Kirkby Stephen -- reading respectively "Red Squirrels"; and (this sign a sort of "parody" version of the old-fashioned red-triangle-topped "warning" road signs), "Caution -- Red Squirrels" -- open one feels, to misinterpretation as "beware of the fierce little so-and-so's" :crazy: . At all events: good to see some indication that red squirrels -- though beleaguered, as one understands, by the grey kind -- are still around in what used to be Westmorland,
 

Bigphoot2

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A white red squirrel
'Extremely rare' white squirrel spotted near Dunkeld
  • 7 May 2020
An "extremely rare" white squirrel has been spotted in Perth and Kinross.
The native red squirrel is thought to have a genetic condition called Leucism, which causes its white colouring and is different to albinism because it does not affect the eyes.
Despite being relatively common in grey squirrels, Leucism is less so in red squirrels.
Chris Eddington photographed the animal in his garden through his kitchen window, near Dunkeld.
The sighting and photographs were reported to Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels.
The project's conservation officer Ann-Marie MacMaster said the photos were some of the best images the project had seen of a Leucistic red squirrel.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-52575674
 

Mikefule

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I saw a white squirrel twice in the same place (so presumably the same one) when I was on a narrowboat holiday on the 4 Counties Ring late last year. As far as I could tell, it was leucistic rather than albino.

Here's what Wikipedia says about the greys supplanting the reds. It more or less tallies with what I'd heard before, particularly the third bullet:

The eastern grey squirrel and the red squirrel are not directly antagonistic, and violent conflict between these species is not a factor in the decline in red squirrel populations. However, the eastern grey squirrel appears to be able to decrease the red squirrel population due to several reasons:
  • The eastern grey squirrel carries a disease, the squirrel parapoxvirus, that does not appear to affect their own health but will often kill the red squirrel. It was revealed in 2008 that the numbers of red squirrels at Formby (England) had declined by 80% as a result of this disease,though the population is now recovering.
  • The eastern grey squirrel can better digest acorns, while the red squirrel cannot access the proteins and fats in acorns as easily.
  • When the red squirrel is put under pressure, it will not breed as often.

I feel that there is a certain sort of person (not all) who uses the "Red squirrels good, grey squirrels bad" position as a sort of sock puppet for their jingoistic/passively racist attitudes. The grey squirrel is presented as non native, a "tree rat", and "the wrong colour" (less attractive) and the red squirrel is seen as "ours". Maybe I'm reading too much into it. However, as someone who spends a lot of time in the countryside, I feel that the grey squirrel is an attractive species in its own right.

Strangely, no one gets as emotional against the rabbit — which is non native to Britain and was introduced by the Normans.
 

maximus otter

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...there is a certain sort of person (not all) who uses the "Red squirrels good, grey squirrels bad" position as a sort of sock puppet for their jingoistic/passively racist attitudes.


Grey squirrels are not a native species to the British Isles, they were introduced to the UK in the late nineteenth century and have become the dominant species across England, Wales and much of Scotland displacing the native red squirrel as they spread. They are larger and have a more varied diet than the red squirrel allowing them to outcompete and rapidly spread at the expense of our native species.

https://www.arkwildlife.co.uk/blog/grey-squirrels-good-and-bad/

Since their introduction into Britain between 1876 and the 1920’s, grey squirrels have spread rapidly, gradually displacing the native red squirrel in most of England and Wales, and in central and south-east Scotland.

https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/research/management-of-grey-squirrels/

The most crucial reason that red and grey squirrels cannot coexist is that grey squirrels carry a virus known as Squirrelpox (SQPV). Grey squirrels who carry the virus show no symptoms, when grey and red squirrels come into contact with each other the virus is easily spread. Although this is just one of several factors, it is estimated that the loss of red squirrels in Britain has happened 20 times faster than it would have done had squirrel pox not been a factor.

Grey squirrels are approximately twice the size of the native red squirrel, and can live in much higher population densities. As a result the grey squirrel has proven to outcompete the red squirrel for habitat and resources resulting in a steady decrease in red squirrel numbers across Britain.

The grey squirrel also has behavioural advantages. The red squirrel, is primarily arboreal and spends only a third of its time on the ground, the grey squirrel on the other hand spends more than three quarters of it’s time on the woodland floor foraging for food. This adaptation means that ahead of the winter, grey squirrels can increase their body weight by as much as 20%, while reds which feed far less efficiently in broadleaved woodland, rarely manage to gain 10%. This inability to gain weight results in many red squirrels not meeting critical mass for survival and breeding.

As a result of the grey squirrel’s behavioural advantages over the native red squirrel which has resulted in such a dramatic decline in red squirrel population numbers across Britain, the grey squirrel has now been listed within an IUCN list of the 100 worst invasive species globally.

https://cornwallredsquirrels.co.uk/red-and-grey

Mikefule said:
Strangely, no one gets as emotional against the rabbit...

You've heard about myxomatosis, right?

maximus otter
 
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Mythopoeika

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Strangely, no one gets as emotional against the rabbit — which is non native to Britain and was introduced by the Normans.
Introduced by the Romans, I'd thought?
 
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