POSTED ON January 6th, 2020

Our Fury Red Friends,

There are two species of squirrel in the UK; Red Squirrels and Grey Squirrels. Populations are currently estimated at approximately 140,000 red squirrels and 2.5 million Grey Squirrels. Red Squirrels are our native species and have lived in the UK for around 10,000 years, Grey squirrels were introduced to the UK from North America by the Victorians in the 1800s, the first record of them escaping and establishing a wild population is 1876.

Red Squirrels have come under threat due to a few reasons. One reason being the decline of woodland areas due to de-forestation. This has meant that animals habitats have been destroyed. This can cause increased competition amongst different species for food and territory.

The main threat to the Red Squirrel is the Gray Squirrel. Habitat loss has meant that the Grey and Red squirrels are competing for food and territory more than ever. Grey Squirrels are able to compete more successfully than the reds due to being larger and more robust, and can digest seeds with high tannin content, such as acorns, more efficiently. Grey squirrels also carry squirrelpox which does not affect the Grey Squirrel but is fatal to the Red Squirrels. Once the Red Squirrels are infected, they suffer a slow and painful death. The virus produces scabs and sores in and around the eyes, nose, mouth, feet, ears and genitalia. The infected squirrel us then unable to see or feed properly and rapidly becomes dehydrated and malnourished.

At Nanny Brow we are very fortunate to have Red Squirrels living in our garden. They live at the back of our gardens in the woodland area and have done for several years. We work closely with a local volunteer to help with conservation of our local red squirrels by keeping an eye out grey squirrels at Nanny Brow and Fishgarth Wood. If Grey Squirrels are spotted, we will inform our local volunteer who will lay traps for the Grey Squirrels, in order to protect the endangered Red Squirrels. Be sure to check out our red fury friends during your stay at Nanny Brow.

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