Red Squirrel Life in Scotland 

Red Squirrel Life in Scotland 

by Scottish Tourer November 12, 2023

Red Squirrels are such a highlight of any walk anywhere is Scotland. So let’s take a look at why these fuzzy little creatures attract so much interest and marvel at their abilities despite their small stature and numbers. These lovely little bright and colourful creatures are coupled with a personality that helps them shine. There are so many fun facts about squirrels that can help get children involved in learning about our woodlands, habitats for animals and the conservation of these little critters!

  • Red Squirrels are doubled jointed which aids them in gripping the trees and climbing quickly up the trunks. It helps them move quickly away from predators or dangerous situations. 
  • Red Squirrels do not hibernate which is a misconception for most people. Although they are little hoarders and collect seeds and nuts throughout the summer they stay awake all winter. Much like us perhaps though they do slow down slightly due to the colder weather for preservation. 
  • They love seeds from Coniferous trees which need to be allowed to age as they only produce seeds once they are around 30years of age. Learn more about conifers 10 things you didn't know about conifers - Forestry and Land Scotland
  • Red Squirrels are quick developers by the age of 10weeks they are weaned and have a full set of teeth, meaning they are independant very early on in their lives. 
  • They are special in that Native Americans believe they symbolise thrift and trust. Two attributes which are eternally important in every aspects of our lives. 
  • They are very intelligent and studies have shown they can retain knowledge for up to two years. 
  • These little balls of red fun weigh in at around 300 grams and this means they are almost ½ the size of their grey counterparts. This has both advantages and disadvantages. They prefer to live up high in the trees whereas the grey squirrels tend to spend more time on the forest floor. This makes the greys a target for pine martens who may actually aid the red squirrels numbers. 
  • There are around 120,000 red squirrels in Scotland currently and they are protected from damage, destruction and disturbance.
  • They are very quick and although they are only around 25cm in height they can jump around 2metres! 

scottish woodland scene

Scotland’s conservation team aid the numbers of these little creatures and are looking further into how we can all help keep them in our woodlands and forests. There are nesting boxes located in many woods and often the grey squirrels cannot fit inside these, there are ongoing studies in to the effects of thinning and felling forests however these resilient little animals do not appear to be affected and there has been no evidence of death at these times either. In many woods you will walk in Scotland you will see signs for noting if you see a red squirrel, this is so important to the conservationist s to help keep them alive, increase numbers and of course learn more about them. So take that minute to pause and phone to note your sightings if you see them. You may just be a key part in keeping them within our lives, forests and future. 



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