• There is currently an estimated population of red squirrels in the UK of 120,000 and of those as little as 15,000 are thought to be present in England (mainly in Northumberland and Cumbria with some present in Yorkshire, the North West and the island of Anglesey).

  • The red squirrel is a native species, the grey squirrel is not and is officially classed as an invasive, non-native species, should a grey squirrel be trapped they must be disposed of humanely as it is an offence to release a grey squirrel back into the wild under the Countryside and Wildlife Act 1981.

  • Red squirrels live in trees, and can live in all types of woodland, doing particularly well in mixed or broadleafed woodland due to the diversity of species and availability of food. However they are becoming increasingly confined to coniferous woodlands due to competition from greys.

  • A squirrel’s nest is called a ‘drey’ which is a dense ball of twigs lined on the inside with soft materials such as moss and grass.

  • Food for squirrels is plentiful throughout the Autumn and Winter months, and more scarce during the Spring and Summer.

  • Red squirrels are usually solitary creatures coming together only during the mating season, ranging widely when looking for a mate.

  • Red squirrels young are called kittens, and are usually born in the Spring, although squirrels can reproduce a second time in the Summer if conditions are right. A litter averages around 2-3 kittens but a female can produce as many as 6 in any one litter.

  • The red squirrels main food source is seeds, but their diet can be quite diverse throughout the year including fungi, nuts, wild berries and fruit, and even insects and bird eggs.

  • Squirrels are active all year round and do not hibernate throughout the winter.

  • Grey squirrels are approximately twice the size of reds and they can tolerate living in higher populations within a woodland. 

  • Threats to red squirrels include predators, viruses and changes to the landscape. However, the most significant threat to reds from greys is the squirrelpox virus (SQPV), this virus is carried by the greys and can quickly be transmitted to the reds, resulting in a slow, painful death. More information on the SQPV can be found on the Red Squirrels Northern England website.