Squirrels

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Squirrels are members of the rodent order and are distributed on virtually every continent. The squirrel family (Sciuridae) is composed of some 285 species globally. Britain is home to two species: the Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), which is widely considered the native tree squirrel species here, and the eastern grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), which was imported from the United States of America in the late 1800s.


Species


Questions

Is it okay for me to feed wildlife?

Generally speaking, feeding appropriate food in appropriate quantities is fine. There can, however, be some unforeseen consequences to supplementary feeding.

I’ve rescued a Grey squirrel. Can I release it back into the wild?

Grey squirrels are considered invasive in Britain and rescue centres can only be released under a license from Natural England.

What controls the caching behaviour of squirrels & how do they find their buried nuts?

Caching is innate for squirrels and their caching behaviour is affected by the environment and potential thieves. They have a good spatial memory that allows recovery of upto 95% of cached nuts.

What is squirrel pox & when did it arrive in Britain?

First confirmed in Britain in the 1980s, squirrel pox is an often fatal viral disease affecting Red squirrels.

What’s the story behind the Grey squirrel in Britain?

The first Grey was introduced to Britain in 1876 and, since then, successive introductions have seen the population become established across much of the UK.

Why are some squirrels of the same species different colours?

Genetic diversity among squirrels results in, sometimes extreme, variations in the deposition of the pigment melanin in fur as it grows, resulting in black, white and grey animals. They are all the same species, however.

Why is the Red squirrel declining in the UK & what can be done?

A combination of habitat loss, out-competition by Greys and the spread of an often fatal virus are all factors in the Red's decline. A broad-scale approach to managing Greys and forests is needed to address the decline.


Bibliography

Belinda, The Forest How Red Squirrel - by Peter Trimming
The Book Guild -- 2016 -- ISBN: 978-1910878552

Charlie Brown - by Mike Towler
Vulpine Publishing -- 1987 -- ISBN: N/A

Red Squirrels - by Helen Butler
Wight Squirrel Project -- 1998 -- ISBN: 978-0955231438

Red Squirrels: Ecology, Conservation & Management in Europe - by Craig Shuttleworth, Peter Lurz & Matthew Hayward
European Squirrel Initiative -- 2015 -- ISBN: 978-0954757618

Squirrel on my Shoulder - by John Paling
BBC Books -- 1979 -- ISBN: 978-0563176398

Squirrels - by Jessica Holm
Whittet Books -- 1987 -- ISBN: 978-1873580172

Squirrels - by Monica Shorten
Collins -- 1954 -- ISBN: 978-1616905774

Squirrels in Britain - by Keith Laidler
David & Charles -- 1980 -- ISBN: 978-0715378250

Squirrels in Your Garden - by Doreen King
Kingdom Books -- 1998 -- ISBN: 978-1852790288

The Conservation of Red Squirrels - by John Gurnell & Peter Lurz (eds)
PTES -- 1997 -- ISBN: 978-1855800144

The Eurasian Red Squirrel - by Stefan Bosch & Peter Lurz
Westarp Wissenschaften -- 2012 -- ISBN: 978-3894322588

The Grey Squirrel: Ecology & Management of an Invasive Species in Europe - by Craig Shuttleworth, Peter Lurz & John Gurnell (eds.)
European Squirrel Initiative -- 2016 -- ISBN: 978-0954757649

The Natural History of Squirrels - by John Gurnell
Christopher Helm Publishers -- 1987 -- ISBN: 978-0747012108

The Red Squirrel - by Jessica Holm
Shire Natural History -- 1989 -- ISBN: 978-0747800224

The Red Squirrel: Redressing the Wrong - by Charles Dutton
European Squirrel Initiative -- 2004 -- ISBN: N/A


Links