Red Squirrel

The red squirrel is a species of tree squirrel. It has sharp, curved claws and a long bushy tail. The claws allow it to climb up and down tree trunks and branches, and the long tail helps it to balance and steer while jumping from tree to tree and running along branches. Red squirrels are also able to swim. 

 

The red squirrel sheds its coat twice a year. It summer it is a lighter red colour and in winter it is greyer with red hues. The underside is always a white-cream colour. 

 

In Ireland, it is found in forests, parks and gardens all the way from sea level to the tree line. Seeds from all types of trees, berries, fruit and fungi are all important foods. 

 

Competition with the North American grey squirrel has been the most important factor in the decline in numbers of red squirrels, down to 20% of the numbers observed in 1911. There are estimated 40,000 red squirrels in Ireland and it is assessed to be Near Threatened.

Image (c) from Peter Trimming used under Creative Commons License BY 2.0.

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