Scottish Squirrels information site - Squirrels in Scotland
We all love squirrels - they are a symbol of wildlife in nature, and represent the mystery of survival of the fittest.
Scotland is home to over 75% of Britain's endangered red squirrels with the lowlands representing one of the last havens for the species in the UK.
Incursion and establishment by pox carrying grey squirrels is now the biggest threat to red squirrels in Scotland. The Squirrelpox virus is harmless to greys but is deadlyl to the native reds, with squirrels suffering a horrible death over 14 days. Studying squirrels.
The Squirrelpox virus also has the devastating effect of increasing the rate at which grey squirrels displace and replace reds (usually about 10 years) by a factor of twenty, denying researchers adequate time to develop a vaccine for reds or a contraceptive for greys, along with targeted ways of administering them.
The current lethal grey squirrel control effort is neccessaryl in order to ensure that red squirrels survive long enough to benefit from future friendlier methods of control. about
The active period for the red squirrel is in the morning and in the late afternoon and evening. It often rests in its nest in the middle of the day, avoiding the heat and the high visibility to birds of prey that are dangers during these hours. During the winter, this mid-day rest is often much more brief, or absent entirely, although harsh weather may cause the animal to stay in its nest for days at a time.
Arboreal predators include small mammals such as the pine marten, wild cats, and the stoat, which preys on nestlings; birds, including owls and raptors such as the goshawk and buzzards, may also take the red squirrel. The red fox, cats and dogs can prey upon the red squirrel when it is on the ground. Humans influence the population size and mortality of the red squirrel by destroying or altering habitats, by causing road casualties, and by controlling populations of grey squirrels.