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Red Squirrel

squirrels.jpg Both male and female red squirrels are a little smaller than the grey squirrels but are far more attractive in appearance.

The belly of a red squirrel is always a creamy white colour. Each summer they develop a thin summer coat and then shed, growing a thick warm winter coat through the winter months.

The red squirrel’s sharp claws make it a fantastic climber.

Surprisingly the red squirrel only lives about three years although some reach the age of seven years.

In the wild, the Red Squirrel has to be on the look out for predators such as the Pine Marten, Scottish Wild Cat, Goshawk, Buzzard, and Red Fox to stand a fighting chance of survival.

Unfortunately the Red Squirrel numbers have decreased to the introduction of the Grey Squirrel but if you are visiting the Scottish highlands you may well see the native red squirrel in his natural setting.

During February to March and June to July, Red Squirrels Mate.
A female will rear one to two litters of four to six young each year. During the breeding season females will produce an attractive odour that the males detect. At this time you may see several males chasing a female around the forest. They will do this for up to an hour until the dominant male mates wit her.

The Red Squirrel usually lives in coniferous forest and it’s nest is called a dray. Red Squirrels are solitary shy creatures and hate sharing food. However, in winter time especially, many red squirrels will share their dray to keep cosy and warm.

The Diet of red squirrels consists of fungi, birds eggs, shoots, seeds and berries etc.

It will often hide its food away for a later date when food is scarce. It will bury its food in caches or holes in trees. Unfortunately because of the squirrels seems to have bad memory, it never remembers where its put its food so it has to spend all it’s time searching for it!