dcsimg

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

provided by AnAge articles
Maximum longevity: 14.8 years (captivity) Observations: In the wild, these animals may live up to 12 years (Bernhard Grzimek 1990). One specimen lived over 14.8 years in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005).
license
cc-by-3.0
copyright
Joao Pedro de Magalhaes
editor
de Magalhaes, J. P.
partner site
AnAge articles

Reproduction

provided by Animal Diversity Web

When a female comes into estrous, the usually non-gregarious males gather in her home range to compete for the opportunity to mate with her. After mating occurs, male squirrels return to their home ranges.

Mating System: polygynous

Female Eurasian red squirrels give birth to an average of two litters per year, of usually 5-7 young. The gestation period is 38-39 days. The young weigh 8-12 g at birth and are born hairless and blind. Their auditory canals are unopened, and their ears are undeveloped and lay flat against their head. The young squirrels' eyes open after 30 days, at which time they become active cleaning themselves and moving around the nest. After 45 days the young voluntarily leave the nest for the first time. At this point the young also begin to eat solid food. By eight to ten weeks of age the offspring are fully weaned and independent, even though they tend to remain near their mothers for some time. Young become reproductively mature within a year. (Macdonald 1984, Nowak 1991, Parker 1990)

Breeding interval: These squirrels reproduce twice during the warm season, at approximately 13 week intervals

Breeding season: Eurasian red squirrels generally have two litters per year, one in February to March, the other from May to August

Range number of offspring: 1 to 10.

Average number of offspring: 3 to 7.

Range gestation period: 38 to 39 days.

Range time to independence: 8 to 10 weeks.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 1 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 1 years.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous

Average birth mass: 9.25 g.

Average number of offspring: 5.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
Sex: male:
320 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female:
296 days.

Eurasian red squirrels are cared for and nursed by their mother in her nest during the first few months of their lives.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement; altricial ; pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Protecting: Female)

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Seinfeld, J. 1999. "Sciurus vulgaris" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Sciurus_vulgaris.html
author
Joshua Seinfeld, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
photographer
George Hammond, Animal Diversity Web
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Behavior

provided by Animal Diversity Web

Eurasian red squirrels have keen senses of vision, smell, touch, and hearing. They communicate with body signals, sounds, such as warning calls, and chemical cues. Within family groups touch is also used in communication.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Seinfeld, J. 1999. "Sciurus vulgaris" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Sciurus_vulgaris.html
author
Joshua Seinfeld, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
photographer
George Hammond, Animal Diversity Web
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

provided by Animal Diversity Web

The number of Eurasian red squirrels has dropped dramatically in recent years in some areas. In Great Britain, the introduction of a North American species of tree squirrel, the eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), has led to the disappearance of native Eurasian red squirrels throughout much of the country, while in the former Soviet Union overhunting of some populations for their fur has reduced their numbers. (Nowak 1991, Parker 1990, Wilson et al. 1993)

This species is listed as "Near Threatened" by the IUCN Red List.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Seinfeld, J. 1999. "Sciurus vulgaris" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Sciurus_vulgaris.html
author
Joshua Seinfeld, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
photographer
George Hammond, Animal Diversity Web
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Benefits

provided by Animal Diversity Web

Sciurus vulgaris are known to occasionally eat shoots of food crop plants. They can also be a nuisance when they nest in houses or buildings because they can be quite noisy. (Nowak 1991)

Negative Impacts: crop pest; household pest

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Seinfeld, J. 1999. "Sciurus vulgaris" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Sciurus_vulgaris.html
author
Joshua Seinfeld, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
photographer
George Hammond, Animal Diversity Web
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Benefits

provided by Animal Diversity Web

In the former Soviet Union some populations of Sciurus vulgaris are hunted for their thick and luxurious winter coats, which have commercial value on the fur market. (Nowak 1991). This species is also probably an important disperser of the seeds of some species of trees.

Positive Impacts: body parts are source of valuable material

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Seinfeld, J. 1999. "Sciurus vulgaris" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Sciurus_vulgaris.html
author
Joshua Seinfeld, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
photographer
George Hammond, Animal Diversity Web
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Associations

provided by Animal Diversity Web

Eurasian red squirrels have an important impact on forest communities through seed predation and caching of tree seeds. Forgotten caches may end up sprouting and growing into new trees.

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Seinfeld, J. 1999. "Sciurus vulgaris" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Sciurus_vulgaris.html
author
Joshua Seinfeld, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
photographer
George Hammond, Animal Diversity Web
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Trophic Strategy

provided by Animal Diversity Web

Sciurus vulgaris regularly forage on coniferous seeds, beechnuts, acorns, and nuts. They have a specialized technique for opening nuts that utilizes the power of the lower incisors. With practice they are able to open a nut in just a few seconds. The dietary habits of these squirrels varies greatly according to the region in which they live and with the availability of different foods. When their regular dietary staples are not available, these squirrels may eat mushrooms and other fungi, birds' eggs, and garden flowers and vegetables. They have also been observed peeling the bark off conifers and licking the trees' sap. Like most squirrels, this species stores food supplies by burying them in the ground or hiding them in the bark of trees. Young squirrels learn what food sources to eat from their mothers. As they get older they become more reluctant to accept new and strange food sources. The daily food intake varies depending upon the time of year. They eat the most food in the spring (80g per day), and the least in the winter (35g per day). (Gromwall et al. 1993, Moiller 1983, Nowak 1991, Parker 1990)

Animal Foods: eggs

Plant Foods: leaves; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit; sap or other plant fluids

Other Foods: fungus

Foraging Behavior: stores or caches food

Primary Diet: herbivore (Granivore )

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Seinfeld, J. 1999. "Sciurus vulgaris" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Sciurus_vulgaris.html
author
Joshua Seinfeld, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
photographer
George Hammond, Animal Diversity Web
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Distribution

provided by Animal Diversity Web

Sciurus vulgaris, also known as the Eurasian red squirrel, can be found throughout the forests of Europe and northern Asia. Over the past century S. vulgaris population densities have changed greatly. The species has remained very common in central Europe, but on Great Britain they are now extirpated from much of their range. (Nowak 1991, Parker 1990)

Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native )

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Seinfeld, J. 1999. "Sciurus vulgaris" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Sciurus_vulgaris.html
author
Joshua Seinfeld, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
photographer
George Hammond, Animal Diversity Web
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Habitat

provided by Animal Diversity Web

Sciurus vulgaris lives and nests in deciduous and coniferous forests. These squirrels prefer to live in large, mature trees that can provide them with an abundant supply of food in the form of seeds or acorns. Trees chosen as nesting sites usually have hollowed out cavities or large holes in their trunks which can be used as nests. A high quality nest may be used for several years, and individuals always maintain several nests to which they can escape when being pursued by a predator. (Nowak 1991, Parker 1990)

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Seinfeld, J. 1999. "Sciurus vulgaris" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Sciurus_vulgaris.html
author
Joshua Seinfeld, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
photographer
George Hammond, Animal Diversity Web
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Life Expectancy

provided by Animal Diversity Web

The mortality rate of young Eurasian red squirrels is high, due to heavy predation by birds and mammals. Less than one in four survive to their first birthday. Although adults can live for 6 to 7 years in the wild, and longer in captivity, most individuals probably only live for 2-4 years.

Range lifespan
Status: wild:
7 (high) years.

Range lifespan
Status: captivity:
10 to 12 years.

Average lifespan
Status: wild:
12.0 years.

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Seinfeld, J. 1999. "Sciurus vulgaris" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Sciurus_vulgaris.html
author
Joshua Seinfeld, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
photographer
George Hammond, Animal Diversity Web
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Morphology

provided by Animal Diversity Web

This species has more variation in coat color than almost any other mammal in the Palearctic region. The color of these squirrels varies from light-red to black on their heads and backs. All individuals (except those that are completely melanistic), have white or creamy fur on their stomachs. Like many other tree squirrels, S. vulgaris has long tufts of hair on its ears and long furry tail. In most areas where they are common, such as central Europe, the pelage coloration of individuals varies from red to black, with individuals of many differently color morphs co-occurring. However, in some areas, whole populations may have almost identically colored coats. Examples of populations in which all of the squirrels share the same coat color can be found in Great Britain, where only red members of this species live; and in the Sila region of southern Italy, where only black individuals are found. The body hair of these squirrels changes twice annually, while the tail hair changes only once. The winter coat covers more of the soles of the feet, has longer ear tufts, and is thicker than the spring/summer coat.

Shedding and growth of hair can be delayed or prevented by a lack of food, diseases, or parasitic infestation during the spring or late fall when individuals normally grow a new coat.

The size of the skull also varies between regions. Average skull size in S. vulgaris populations increases from north to south throughout Eurasia.

(Nowak 1991, Parker 1990)

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry ; polymorphic

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

Average mass: 600 g.

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Seinfeld, J. 1999. "Sciurus vulgaris" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Sciurus_vulgaris.html
author
Joshua Seinfeld, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
photographer
George Hammond, Animal Diversity Web
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Associations

provided by Animal Diversity Web

Eurasian red squirrels are agile in the trees and are constantly alert for the presence of predators. They are mainly preyed on by large birds of prey and arboreal mustelids like the European marten. As young in the nest they may be taken by large climbing snakes, and other small, arboreal predators.

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Seinfeld, J. 1999. "Sciurus vulgaris" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Sciurus_vulgaris.html
author
Joshua Seinfeld, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
photographer
George Hammond, Animal Diversity Web
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Biology

provided by Arkive
Red squirrels do not hibernate and lay down stores of food to see them through periods when fresh food is not available. Where they are found in mixed broadleaf and coniferous woodland they have a source of food all year round, as pine seeds are present over the winter months. However, red squirrels have quite a varied diet which includes seeds, buds, flowers, leaves and fruit. They are known to take insects, fungi and birds' eggs. Red squirrels build nests, called dreys, from sticks and moss placed high in the branches. They produce two litters of three to four kittens a year, usually in March and July. The drey is often the first evidence of the presence of red squirrels in a wood. Other signs are chewed pine cone 'cores' (birds leave ragged remains), split hazel nut shells (dormice make a hole to extract the kernel), cut tree shoots and scattered droppings. Red squirrels can live for up to six years. They are chiefly active during the day and most of this time is spent foraging. Bad weather can seriously hinder this activity and, without food the squirrels can only survive for a few days.
license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
Wildscreen
original
visit source
partner site
Arkive

Conservation

provided by Arkive
Fearing that the red squirrel would be lost as a species to central and southern England, English Nature included it in their Species Recovery Programme (SRP). In partnership with the Forestry Commission, SRP began a project to look at ways in which the red squirrel might be helped recover its population.The project is taking place in Thetford Forest in East Anglia, one of the few sites in southern England where the animal is still found. The work involves looking at changes in conifer woodland management to change the competitive balance in favour of red squirrels as well as developing new techniques in both conserving existing populations and improved re-introduction schemes. Other methods that have been developed include cage traps that catch only the heavier grey squirrel, and a captive breeding programme that aims to release animals into specially prepared sites. They are then monitored to see how well they re-colonise a particular area.
license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
Wildscreen
original
visit source
partner site
Arkive

Description

provided by Arkive
This attractive mammal has a chestnut upper body, with buff to cream underside, noticeable ear tufts and the famous fluffy tail. The red squirrel moults its coat twice a year but the ear tufts and the tail are only moulted annually. It is a smaller animal than the introduced grey squirrel.
license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
Wildscreen
original
visit source
partner site
Arkive

Habitat

provided by Arkive
Red squirrels prefer woodland that contains a fair proportion of conifer trees. In Europe they are found in large forests, gardens and parks and at altitudes of up to 2000 m. In the UK they are now chiefly confined to conifer forests but can live in mixed woodland that has yet to be invaded by greys.
license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
Wildscreen
original
visit source
partner site
Arkive

Range

provided by Arkive
Across most of Europe into northern Asia and Siberia. In this part of its range the red squirrel is not threatened. In the UK it is restricted to a few sites, mainly those free from competition by grey squirrels, which is why it is classified as threatened. However, the two species share some habitats in Scotland and parts of Wales, Ireland and England.
license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
Wildscreen
original
visit source
partner site
Arkive

Status

provided by Arkive
Classified as Lower Risk - near threatened by the IUCN Red List, and listed under Appendix III of the Berne Convention. Threatened in the UK, and protected under Schedules 5 and 6 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
Wildscreen
original
visit source
partner site
Arkive

Threats

provided by Arkive
There is evidence to suggest that red squirrels have fluctuated in numbers in the UK since the last ice age. In the last 50 years, however, their dramatic decline has been due to loss and fragmentation of habitat, disease and in particular, competition from the introduced grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). The two species are known to coexist in some locations but while there is no evidence of aggressive behaviour by greys, competition for limited food sources tends to favour the introduced animal.
license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
Wildscreen
original
visit source
partner site
Arkive

Brief Summary

provided by Ecomare
Squirrels live in trees and are terrific acrobats, easily jumping from branch to branch. They prefer to live on the edge of older forests and in forested banks, gardens and parks with a woody surrounding. They eat mostly seeds and buds of coniferous trees, but also eggs and young chicks in the spring. In the summer and autumn, they eat various nuts, sweet chestnuts and mushrooms. Squirrels are found throughout the Netherlands, with the exception of the Wadden Islands.
license
cc-by-nc
copyright
Copyright Ecomare
provider
Ecomare
original
visit source
partner site
Ecomare

Red squirrel

provided by wikipedia EN

The red squirrel or Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is a species of tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus common throughout Eurasia. The red squirrel is an arboreal, primarily herbivorous rodent.

In Great Britain, Ireland, and in Italy numbers have decreased drastically in recent years. This decline is associated with the introduction by humans of the eastern grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) from North America. However, the population in Scotland is stabilising[3] due to conservation efforts, awareness and the increasing population of the pine marten, a European predator that selectively controls grey squirrels.[4][5]

Description

"
Skull of a red squirrel
"
Underparts are generally white-cream-coloured
"
In the Austrian, Swiss Alps and in South-west Poland (see Norge park in Cieplice), this species usually has brown-black fur, except for its white belly
"
Red squirrel in Kuusijarvi lake in Finland.
"
Profile of the Eurasian red squirrel in grey winter coat

The red squirrel has a typical head-and-body length of 19 to 23 cm (7.5 to 9 in), a tail length of 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 in), and a mass of 250 to 340 g (8.8 to 12.0 oz). Males and females are the same size. The red squirrel is somewhat smaller than the eastern grey squirrel which has a head-and-body length of 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 in) and weighs between 400 and 800 g (14 oz and 1 lb 12 oz).

The long tail helps the squirrel to balance and steer when jumping from tree to tree and running along branches, and may keep the animal warm during sleep.[6]

The red squirrel, like most tree squirrels, has sharp, curved claws to enable it to climb and descend broad tree trunks, thin branches and even house walls. Its strong hind legs enable it to leap gaps between trees. The red squirrel also has the ability to swim.[7]

The coat of the red squirrel varies in colour with time of year and location. There are several different coat colour morphs ranging from black to red. Red coats are most common in Great Britain; in other parts of Europe and Asia different coat colours co-exist within populations, much like hair colour in some human populations. The underside of the squirrel is always white-cream in colour. The red squirrel sheds its coat twice a year, switching from a thinner summer coat to a thicker, darker winter coat with noticeably larger ear-tufts (a prominent distinguishing feature of this species) between August and November. A lighter, redder overall coat colour, along with the ear-tufts (in adults) and smaller size, distinguish the Eurasian red squirrel from the American eastern grey squirrel.[8][9][10]

Distribution

"
Red squirrel in the Urals region, grey winter coat

Red squirrels occupy boreal, coniferous woods in northern Europe and Siberia, preferring Scots pine, Norway spruce and Siberian pine. In western and southern Europe they are found in broad-leaved woods where the mixture of tree and shrub species provides a better year round source of food. In most of the British Isles and in Italy, broad-leaved woodlands are now less suitable due to the better competitive feeding strategy of introduced grey squirrels.[11]

Reproduction

"
Skeleton of a squirrel

Mating can occur in late winter during February and March and in summer between June and July. Up to two litters a year per female are possible. Each litter averages three young, called kits.[12] Gestation is about 38 to 39 days. The young are looked after by the mother alone and are born helpless, blind and deaf. They weigh between 10 and 15 g. Their body is covered by hair at 21 days, their eyes and ears open after three to four weeks, and they develop all their teeth by 42 days. Juvenile red squirrels can eat solids around 40 days following birth and from that point can leave the nest on their own to find food; however, they still suckle from their mother until weaning occurs at 8 to 10 weeks.

During mating, males detect females that are in oestrus by an odor that they produce, and although there is no courtship, the male will chase the female for up to an hour prior to mating. Usually multiple males will chase a single female until the dominant male, usually the largest in the group, mates with the female. Males and females will mate multiple times with many partners. Females must reach a minimum body mass before they enter oestrus, and heavy females on average produce more young. If food is scarce breeding may be delayed. Typically a female will produce her first litter in her second year.

"
Two-week-old red squirrel

Life expectancy

"
Close up of a young red squirrel.

Red squirrels that survive their first winter have a life expectancy of 3 years. Individuals may reach 7 years of age, and 10 in captivity. Survival is positively related to availability of autumn–winter tree seeds; on average, 75–85% of juveniles die during their first winter, and mortality is approximately 50% for winters following the first.[13]

Ecology and behaviour

A red squirrel takes and loses a walnut

The red squirrel is found in both coniferous forest and temperate broadleaf woodlands. The squirrel makes a drey (nest) out of twigs in a branch-fork, forming a domed structure about 25 to 30 cm in diameter. This is lined with moss, leaves, grass and bark. Tree hollows and woodpecker holes are also used. The red squirrel is a solitary animal and is shy and reluctant to share food with others. However, outside the breeding season and particularly in winter, several red squirrels may share a drey to keep warm. Social organization is based on dominance hierarchies within and between sexes; although males are not necessarily dominant to females, the dominant animals tend to be larger and older than subordinate animals, and dominant males tend to have larger home ranges than subordinate males or females.[14]

A red squirrel eating

The red squirrel eats mostly the seeds of trees, neatly stripping conifer cones to get at the seeds within, fungi, nuts (especially hazelnuts but also beech and chestnuts), berries and young shoots. [15]

More rarely, red squirrels may also eat bird eggs or nestlings. A Swedish study shows that out of 600 stomach contents of red squirrels examined, only 4 contained remnants of birds or eggs.[16][17] Thus, red squirrels may occasionally exhibit opportunistic omnivory, similarly to other rodents.

A red squirrel burying hazelnuts

Excess food is put into caches, either buried or in nooks or holes in trees, and eaten when food is scarce. Although the red squirrel remembers where it created caches at a better-than-chance level, its spatial memory is substantially less accurate and durable than that of grey squirrels;[18] it therefore will often have to search for them when in need, and many caches are never found again.

Between 60% and 80% of its active period may be spent foraging and feeding.[19] 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.

No territories are claimed between the red squirrels, and the feeding areas of individuals overlap considerably.

Enemies and threats

"
In snow in Helsinki

Arboreal predators include small mammals such as the pine marten, wildcats 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 introducing non-native populations of the North American eastern grey squirrels.

The eastern grey squirrel and the red squirrel are not directly antagonistic, and violent conflict between these species is not a factor in the decline in red squirrel populations.[20] However, the eastern grey squirrel appears to be able to decrease the red squirrel population due to several reasons:

  • The eastern grey squirrel carries a disease, the squirrel parapoxvirus, that does not appear to affect their own health but will often kill the red squirrel. It was revealed in 2008 that the numbers of red squirrels at Formby (England) had declined by 80% as a result of this disease,[21] though the population is now recovering.[22]
  • The eastern grey squirrel can better digest acorns, while the red squirrel cannot access the proteins and fats in acorns as easily.[23]
  • When the red squirrel is put under pressure, it will not breed as often.

In the UK, due to the above circumstances, the population has today fallen to 160,000 red squirrels or fewer (120,000 of these are in Scotland).[24] Outside the UK and Ireland, the impact of competition from the eastern grey squirrel has been observed in Piedmont, Italy, where two pairs escaped from captivity in 1948. A significant drop in red squirrel populations in the area has been observed since 1970, and it is feared that the eastern grey squirrel may expand into the rest of Europe.

Conservation and strategies

Background

"
Winter coat, in England
"
In Germany

The red squirrel is protected in most of Europe, as it is listed in Appendix III of the Bern Convention; it is listed as being of least concern on the IUCN Red List. However, in some areas it is abundant and is hunted for its fur.

Although not thought to be under any threat worldwide, the red squirrel has nevertheless drastically reduced in number in the United Kingdom; especially after the grey squirrels were introduced from North America in the 1870s. Fewer than 140,000 individuals are thought to be left in 2013;[15] approximately 85% of which are in Scotland, with the Isle of Wight being the largest haven in England. A local charity, the Wight Squirrel Project,[25] supports red squirrel conservation on the island, and islanders are actively recommended to report any invasive greys. The population decrease in Britain is often ascribed to the introduction of the eastern grey squirrel from North America,[26] but the loss and fragmentation of its native woodland habitat has also played a significant role.

In contrast, the red squirrel may present a threat if introduced to regions outside its native range. It is classed as a "prohibited new organism" under New Zealand's Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 preventing it from being imported into the country.[27]

Conservation

Protecting the red squirrel in Clocaenog Forest, Wales

In January 1998, eradication of the non-native North American grey squirrel began on the North Wales island of Anglesey. This facilitated the natural recovery of the small remnant red squirrel population. It was followed by the successful reintroduction of the red squirrel into the pine stands of Newborough Forest.[28] Subsequent reintroductions into broadleaved woodland followed and today the island has the single largest red squirrel population in Wales. Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour is also populated exclusively by red rather than grey squirrels (approximately 200 individuals).

"
In Finland
"
With a brown coat

Mainland initiatives in southern Scotland and the north of England also rely upon grey squirrel control as the cornerstone of red squirrel conservation strategy. A local programme known as the "North East Scotland Biodiversity Partnership", an element of the national Biodiversity Action Plan was established in 1996.[29] This programme is administered by the Grampian Squirrel Society, with an aim of protecting the red squirrel; the programme centres on the Banchory and Cults areas. In 2008, the Scottish Wildlife Trust announced a four-year project which commenced in the spring of 2009 called "Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels".[30]

Other notable projects include red squirrel projects in the Greenfield Forest, including the buffer zones of Mallerstang, Garsdale and Widdale;[31] the Northumberland Kielder Forest Project; and within the National Trust reserve in Formby. These projects were originally part of the Save Our Squirrels campaign that aimed to protect red squirrels in the north of England, but now form part of a five-year Government-led partnership conservation project called "Red Squirrels Northern England"[32] to undertake grey squirrel control in areas important for red squirrels.

"
Red squirrel in Poland

Research undertaken in 2007 in the UK credits the pine marten with reducing the population of the invasive eastern grey squirrel. Where the range of the expanding pine marten population meets that of the eastern grey squirrel, the population of these squirrels retreats. It is theorised that, because the grey squirrel spends more time on the ground than the red, they are far more likely to come in contact with this predator.[33]

During October 2012, four male and one female red squirrel, on permanent loan from the British Wildlife Centre, were transported to Tresco in the Isles of Scilly by helicopter, and released into Abbey Wood, near the Abbey Gardens. Only two survived and a further 20 were transported and released in October 2013.[34] Although the red squirrel is not indigenous to the Isles of Scilly, those who supported this work intend to use Tresco as a ″safe haven″ for the endangered mammal, as the islands are free of predators such as foxes, and of the squirrel pox-carrying grey squirrel.[35][36]

Historical, cultural and financial significance

"
"Squirrel" illustration from "British Mammals" by A. Thorburn, 1920

Squirrel Nutkin is a character, always illustrated as a red squirrel, in English author Beatrix Potter's books for children.

"Ekorren" (The Squirrel) is a well known and appreciated children's song in Sweden. Text and lyrics by Alice Tegnér in 1892.

In Norse mythology, Ratatoskr is a red squirrel who runs up and down with messages in the world tree, Yggdrasil, and spreads gossip. In particular, he carried messages between the unnamed eagle at the top of Yggdrasill and the wyrm Níðhöggr beneath its roots.

The red squirrel used to be widely hunted for its pelt. In Finland, squirrel pelts were used as currency in ancient times, before the introduction of coinage.[37] The expression "squirrel pelt" is still widely understood there to be a reference to money. It has been suggested that the trade in red squirrel fur, highly prized in the medieval period and intensively traded, may have been responsible for the leprosy epidemic in medieval Europe. Within Great Britain, widespread leprosy is found early in East Anglia, to which many of the squirrel furs were traded, and the strain is the same as that found in modern red squirrels on Brownsea Island.[38][39] However, no squirrel cases have spread to a human for hundreds of years.[40]

The red squirrel is the national mammal of Denmark.[41]

Red squirrels are a common feature in English heraldry, where they are always depicted sitting up and often in the act of cracking a nut.[42]

Films

Taxonomy

"
Various red squirrel subspecies; A) S. v. vulgaris from Sweden, B) S. v. fuscoater from Germany, C) S. v. infuscatus from central Spain
"
S. v. mantchuricus from South Korea

There have been over 40 described subspecies of the red squirrel, but the taxonomic status of some of these is uncertain. A study published in 1971 recognises 16 subspecies and has served as a basis for subsequent taxonomic work.[43][44] Although the validity of some subspecies is labelled with uncertainty because of the large variation in red squirrels even within a single region,[44] others are relatively distinctive and one of these, S. v. meridionalis of South Italy, was elevated to species status as the Calabrian black squirrel in 2017.[45] At present, there are 23 recognized subspecies of the red squirrel.[2] Genetic studies indicate that another, S. v. hoffmanni of Sierra Espuña in southeast Spain (below included in S. v. alpinus), deserves recognition as distinct.[46]

  • S. v. alpinus. Desmarest, 1822. (synonyms: S. v. baeticus, hoffmanni, infuscatus, italicus, numantius and segurae)
  • S. v. altaicus. Serebrennikov, 1928.
  • S. v. anadyrensis. Ognev, 1929.
  • S. v. arcticus. Trouessart, 1906. (synonym: S. v. jacutensis)
  • S. v. balcanicus. Heinrich, 1936. (synonyms: S. v. istrandjae and rhodopensis)
  • S. v. chiliensis. Sowerby, 1921.
  • S. v. cinerea. Hermann, 1804.
  • S. v. dulkeiti. Ognev, 1929.
  • S. v. exalbidus. Pallas, 1778. (synonyms: S. v. argenteus and kalbinensis)
  • S. v. fedjushini. Ognev, 1935.
  • S. v. formosovi. Ognev, 1935.
  • S. v. fuscoater. Altum, 1876. (synonyms: S. v. brunnea, gotthardi, graeca, nigrescens, russus and rutilans)
  • S. v. fusconigricans. Dvigubsky, 1804
  • S. v. leucourus. Kerr, 1792.
  • S. v. lilaeus. Miller, 1907. (synonyms: S. v. ameliae and croaticus)
  • S. v. mantchuricus. Thomas, 1909. (synonyms: S. v. coreae and coreanus)
  • S. v. martensi. Matschie, 1901. (synonym: S. v. jenissejensis)
  • S. v. ognevi. Migulin, 1928. (synonyms: S. v. bashkiricus, golzmajeri and uralensis)
  • S. v. orientis. Thomas, 1906.
  • S. v. rupestris. Thomas, 1907
  • S. v. ukrainicus. Migulin, 1928. (synonym: S. v. kessleri)
  • S. v. varius. Gmelin, 1789.
  • S. v. vulgaris. Linnaeus, 1758.[47] (synonyms: S. v. albonotatus, albus, carpathicus, europaeus, niger, rufus and typicus)

References

  1. ^ Shar, S.; Lkhagvasuren, D.; Bertolino, S.; Henttonen, H.; Kryštufek, B.; Meinig, H. (2008). "Sciurus vulgaris". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2008: e.T20025A9135609. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T20025A9135609.en.
  2. ^ a b Thorington, R.W., Jr.; Hoffman, R.S. (2005). "Sciurus (Sciurus) vulgaris". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 764. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  3. ^ "Scotland's red squirrel numbers stabilise". BBC News. 8 February 2018. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  4. ^ Gill, Victoria (7 March 2018). "Red squirrel numbers boosted by predator". BBC News.
  5. ^ "Pine marten | the Vincent Wildlife Trust".
  6. ^ "Characteristics - British Red Squirrel". britishredsquirrel.org. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  7. ^ Red squirrel facts. RSST. Retrieved on 30 September 2013.
  8. ^ Two different squirrels: the facts. scottishsquirrels.org.uk. Retrieved on 25 July 2013.
  9. ^ RSPB facts. Rspb.org.uk (24 January 2010). Retrieved on 25 July 2013.
  10. ^ Cornwall Red Squirrels website. Cornwallredsquirrels.co.uk. Retrieved on 25 July 2013.
  11. ^ Forest Research – UK Red Squirrel Group – Red squirrel facts. Forestry.gov.uk. Retrieved on 25 July 2013.
  12. ^ "Red Squirrel Survival Trust: How do they breed?". Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  13. ^ Gurnell, J. (1983). "Squirrel numbers and the abundance of tree seeds". Mammal Review. 13 (2–4): 133–148. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2907.1983.tb00274.x.
  14. ^ Wauters, L.; Swinnen, C. & Dhondt, A. A. (1992). "Activity budget and foraging behaviour or red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) in coniferous and deciduous habitats". Journal of Zoology. 227: 71–86. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1992.tb04345.x.
  15. ^ a b Forestry Commission – Red Squirrels. Forestry.gov.uk. Retrieved on 25 July 2013.
  16. ^ The University of Lund, Lunduniversity.lu.se. Retrieved on 15 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Äter ekorrar fågelungar?". Fråga en biolog (in Swedish). University of Lund. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  18. ^ Macdonald, I. M. V. (1997). "Field experiments on duration and precision of grey and red squirrel spatial memory". Animal Behaviour. 54 (4): 879–91. doi:10.1006/anbe.1996.0528. PMID 9344441.
  19. ^ Wauters, L.A. & Dhondt, A.A. (1992). "Spacing behaviour of red squirrels, Sciurus vulgaris: variation between habitats and the sexes". Animal Behaviour. 43 (2): 297–311. doi:10.1016/S0003-3472(05)80225-8.
  20. ^ "Red and grey squirrels". Rsst.
  21. ^ Country File, BBC, 28.89.2008
  22. ^ Formby's red squirrel population recovering, National trust, 25 November 2013
  23. ^ "Red and grey squirrels - RSST". rsst.org.uk. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  24. ^ "Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels". Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  25. ^ The Wight Squirrel Project – Home. Wightsquirrels.co.uk. Retrieved on 25 July 2013.
  26. ^ "Black squirrels set to dominate". BBC News. 20 January 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  27. ^ "Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 2003 – Schedule 2 Prohibited new organisms". New Zealand Government. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  28. ^ Red squirrel conservation, squirrel ecology and grey squirrel management. Redsquirrels.info. Retrieved on 25 July 2013.
  29. ^ "A new dawn for biodiversity partnership working". hutton.ac.uk.
  30. ^ "A new era for Scotland's red squirrels?" in Scottish Wildlife (November 2008) No. 66. Edinburgh.
  31. ^ "Greenfield Forest declared England’s newest Red Squirrel Reserve" daelnet.co.uk. Retrieved 24 January 2011
  32. ^ Red Squirrels Northern England. Rsne.org.uk. Retrieved on 25 July 2013.
  33. ^ Watson, Jeremy (30 December 2007) "Tufty's saviour to the rescue". Scotland on Sunday. Edinburgh.
  34. ^ Tresco’s Red Squirrel Colony To Be Restocked. Scilly Today (18 June 2013). Retrieved on 25 July 2013.
  35. ^ Mumford, Clive (1 November 2012). "Squirrels to be released in 2013". The Cornishman. p. 16. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  36. ^ "RNAS Culdrose helicopter flies red squirrels to Tresco". BBC News. BBC. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  37. ^ Verot 1500–1600 luvulla:Oravannahat Archived 24 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Holappa.info. Retrieved on 25 July 2013.
  38. ^ Inskip, S; Taylor, GM; Anderson, S; Stewart, G (November 2017). "Leprosy in pre-Norman Suffolk, UK: biomolecular and geochemical analysis of the woman from Hoxne" (PDF). Journal of Medical Microbiology. 66 (11): 1640–1649. doi:10.1099/jmm.0.000606. PMID 28984227.
  39. ^ "Could squirrel fur trade have contributed to England's medieval leprosy outbreak?". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  40. ^ Leprosy revealed in red squirrels across the British Isles, Damian Carrington, 11 November 2016 Archived 11 November 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  41. ^ "Nationalplanter og -dyr" [Nationalplants and -animals] (in Danish). Naturstyrelsen, Danish Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  42. ^ Arthur Fox-Davies, A Complete Guide to Heraldry, T.C. and E.C. Jack, London, 1909, 214, https://archive.org/details/completeguidetoh00foxduoft.
  43. ^ Sidorowicz, J. (1971). "Problems of subspecific taxonomy of squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris L.) in Palaearctic". Zoologischer Anzeiger. 187: 123–142.
  44. ^ a b Lurz, P.W.W.; Gurnell, John & Magris, Louise (2005). "Sciurus vulgaris" (PDF). Mammalian Species. 769: 1–10. doi:10.1644/1545-1410(2005)769[0001:SV]2.0.CO;2.
  45. ^ Wauters, Lucas A.; Giovanni Amori; Gaetano Aloise; Spartaco Gippoliti; Paolo Agnelli; Andrea Galimberti; Maurizio Casiraghi; Damiano Preatoni; Adriano Martinoli (2017). "New endemic mammal species for Europe: Sciurus meridionalis (Rodentia, Sciuridae)". Hystrix. 28 (1): 1–28. doi:10.4404/hystrix-28.1-12015.
  46. ^ Rocha, Rita Gomes; Lucas A. Wauters; Maria da Luz Mathias; Carlos Fonseca (2014). "Will an ancient refuge become a modern one? A critical review on the conservation and research priorities for the red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) in the Iberian peninsula". Hystrix. 25 (1): 9–13. doi:10.4404/hystrix-25.1-9496.
  47. ^ Linnaeus, Carolus (1758). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae :secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin) (10th ed.). Holmiae (Laurentii Salvii). Retrieved 8 March 2010.

"
license
cc-by-sa-3.0
copyright
Wikipedia authors and editors
original
visit source
partner site
wikipedia EN

Red squirrel: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

The red squirrel or Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is a species of tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus common throughout Eurasia. The red squirrel is an arboreal, primarily herbivorous rodent.

In Great Britain, Ireland, and in Italy numbers have decreased drastically in recent years. This decline is associated with the introduction by humans of the eastern grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) from North America. However, the population in Scotland is stabilising due to conservation efforts, awareness and the increasing population of the pine marten, a European predator that selectively controls grey squirrels.

license
cc-by-sa-3.0
copyright
Wikipedia authors and editors
original
visit source
partner site
wikipedia EN