Facts About Red Squirrels
- The UK has approximately 120,000 red squirrels, the majority found in Scotland.
- There are approximately 2.5 million greys!
- Northumberland has one of the largest concentrations of reds in England.
- Most of these are found in Kielder Forest
- Coquetdale is also a good place for sightings.
- Red squirrels can survive entirely on food found in conifer forests.
- As well as pine cones, reds eat beech mast, acorns and hazelnuts.
- They do not hibernate, and forage for nut caches even in snow.
- They also eat buds, shoots, pollen, fruits and fungi when available.
- We can supplement their diet by filling garden squirrel feeders.
- Winter through to early summer is important for supplementary feeding as this is when breeding and the raising of young takes place.
- Mating can begin in December.
- In a good year, when food is plentiful, 2 litters can be raised.
- The female provides all the 'child-care'!
- An over-wintering drey (nest) is well insulated with fur and moss.
- Temperatures outside and inside the drey can vary by 30 degrees.
- Young, born blind and helpless, suckle for 8 weeks.
- Once weaned they start to explore and forage
- Litters born early in the year find their own territories by winter.
- Second litters may stay closer to home until spring.