Woods and trees are home to more wildlife than any other landscape, providing homes for thousands of species including our most loved animals and some non-natives too, providing a stable habitat and food supplies.
I’ve already posted about…
Badgers (https://www.ancientandsacredtrees.org/post/happy-belated-birthday-bill-badger-nutwood) their distinctive striped face is unmistakable and
Bats (https://www.ancientandsacredtrees.org/post/the-wonder-of-woodland-bats) including the…
Brown long-eared Bat,
Common Pipistrelle Bat,
Greater Horseshoe Bat,
Greater Mouse-eared Bat
Grey Long-eared Bat,
Lessen Horseshoe Bat
Wiskered Bat and…
Boars (a reintroduced species) (https://www.facebook.com/groups/Ancientandsacredtrees/search/?query=Boar&epa=SEARCH_BOX)
In this post I’m looking a and endangered species in our forests and woodlands along with a 2.9 km (1.8 miles) walk where you should be able to spot them.
Fairly local to us is, in Formby, Merseyside, is a wonderful beach with dramatic sand dunes, surrounded by sweeping coastal pine and deciduous woodlands.
The “Formby Red Squirrel Walk” (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/formby/trails/formby-red-squirrel-walk) – one of a number of walks available, explores these woodlands which are home to the rare native Red Squirrel.
“Red Squirrels have disappeared from most of the UK
due mainly to the introduction of grey squirrels.”
#redsquirrels are now confined to…
• pockets of northern England and Wales and
• small islands off England’s south coast.
The best time to spot Red Squirrels is in autumn, when they are busy searching for food to see them through the winter.
Be prepared to look up, as Red Squirrels spend most of their time in trees, coming down to ground level far less often than their grey counterparts.
Take it from me, if you’re lucky enough to spot the flash of a Red Squirrel leaping from branch to branch and/or searching the #woodland floor, you won’t forget it very soon.
Red Squirrels need Woodlands to survive, and can be found in…
• broadleaved and
• mixed woodland
Red squirrels are omnivores, but their diet is usually composed of…
• pine seeds,
• tree flowers,
• green acorns,
• berries and
• fungi, among others.
Sometimes, they feed on…
• eggs and
• other animals like young birds.
During Winter, they continue to forage, but they also prepare for the cold season by gathering food and storing it within #tree trunk gaps and/or burying it in the ground.
Threats and conservation
As I stated earlier in this post, due to the introduction of non-native Grey Squirrels in the early 20th century, Red Squirrels have undergone one of the most drastic declines of all UK mammals.
The larger Grey Squirrels…
• are able to out-compete Red Squirrels and
• carry the Squirrel-Parapox Virus, which they are immune to, but which is fatal to Red Squirrels; the virus causes lesions on the faces and paws of those infected and, death happens two weeks after contracting the illness.
Sadly and fairly recently, another virus, the Adenovirus, has been noted as another emerging threat to the Red Squirrel Population.
In humans, the Adenovirus causes the common flu and respiratory illnesses.
For Squirrels, it causes digestive lesions which eventually results in diarrhoea and internal bleeding.
Do your bit and ensure you have the
flue jab when it’s offered.
Apart from the Grey Squirrels, the Wood Mice also carry the virus, making them threats to the Red Squirrels.
As a result, the Red Squirrels have now disappeared from most of England and Wales.
The Woodland Trust and https://www.rsst.org.uk …
• is helping to conserve the Red Squirrels by protecting their habitats
• support Grey Squirrel Management in Red Squirrel Areas and
• backed research that suggests the recovery of Pine Martens could help boost Red Squirrel Numbers.
While currently, because of the measures in place, the Red Squirrel population in the UK is growing, conservationists say the fight isn’t over for as long as the Grey Squirrels are out there out-competing the native Red Squirrels.
Hence, we all must do our share to help ensure that red Squirrel Populations in the UK continue to thrive.
…and finally, some “Advice from a Red Squirrel”…
Look both ways when you cross roads, plan ahead, stay active, eat plenty of fibre, spend time in the woods, go out on a limb and…
It’s OK to be a little nuts! (Smile!)