Squirrel Appreciation Day
The 21st January is Squirrel Appreciation day (oh yes it is #squirrelappreciationday) so we thought we would gather a few fun facts:
Their scientific name is Sciurus vulgaris.
There are estimated to be only 160,000 red squirrels remaining in the UK, 75% of which are in Scotland. (Scottish Wildlife Trust)
Did you know that the “Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels” project – a coordinated effort between the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland, RSPB Scotland, Scottish Land & Estates and the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, is a co-ordinated attempt to stop the decline of red squirrels in Scotland and create the conditions for this mammal to thrive in the future.
If you see a red squirrel when you are out and about, you can report your sighting on their website: https://scottishsquirrels.org.uk/squirrel-sightings/ – this allows the project to gather data on squirrel populations and their distribution across Scotland. There are also many other ways in which you can volunteer to help with the scheme.
Red squirrels have four fingers and five toes and can live to six years of age (Forestry Commission).
Their tail is nearly as long as their body.
They live in a nest called a drey and their young are called kittens.
Red squirrels are mostly vegetarian (and do love nuts) but they have also been known to eat small birds and eggs.
And finally, did you know red squirrels can swim?! 8 years ago, one was seen in the middle of Ullswater in the Lake District, much to the surprise of tourists aboard a boat. The squirrel had swum out over 300 metres. (treesforlife.org.uk)
Are you interested in learning more about this sort of thing? SRUC offers Countryside Management courses full-time, part-time and by distance learning.