Watchable Wildlife

Red squirrel / Iora rua / Sciurus vulgaris

Did you know?

  • Red squirrel are native to Ireland (grey squirrel were introduced to Co. Longford in 1911 and have since spread through much of the east and midlands of Ireland).
  • Do not hibernate, but store up cones and nuts in caches throughout their territory.
  • Their nests are made from a ball of twigs about 30cm in diameter and called a drey.  They are sited in the fork of a branch near the trunk.
  • Conifer plantations are the most important habitat.
  • Have disappeared from large areas especially in the east of Ireland due to competition from grey squirrels.

 

What to watch for:

Size:

  • Average length is about 40cm from nose to tip of tail (smaller than the grey).

Coloration:

  • The coat is usually red-brown (but may turn quite greyish in winter), with a white stomach.

 

Where to watch:

  • Red squirrels spend 70% of waking hours foraging in the tree canopy so look up into the tree canopy
  • In mature conifer plantations

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