Thursday, May 5, 2011

Yorkshire's Red Squirrels

I spotted a thriving community of red squirrels during a visit to the Yorkshire Dales. They were running along a stone wall on the outskirts of a village near Hawes. It turned out that villagers had been tempting them out of a nearby coniferous forest with hazelnuts.

This confierous forest was gradually being replaced with deciduous woodland. Red squirrels used to be widespread in deciduous forests but are now mainly confined to coiniferous plantations where the food source doesn't favour greys squirrels - the species that, due to a virus it carries, has all but decimated reds in this country.

Environmental agents now favour new plantations of native deciduous forests over conifer plantations but I wonder whether this current thinking will spell the end of these few remaining red squirrel strongholds.

Just eight miles away from this red squirrel community I spotted two grey squirrels - a little too close for comfort for my liking.

To find out more please follow this link to read my latest article on it in the Malton Gazette & Herald.


  1. What an attractive squirrel. Thank you for the great photos, and the info - I wondered hoe the greys were reducing the red population.

  2. Beautiful squirrel .Fantastic photos.

  3. Will the red squirrel become immune to the virus in time, as presumably the grey has?

  4. As I understand it, the Grey Squirrel is originally from North America? Over here in the USA, we value the Gray Squirrel but consider our native Red Squirrel as more of a pest. Our Red Squirrels dont hold a candle to yours in the looks department.

  5. The greys were introduced from North America in 1876. They are larger and can out compete the reds, but their most deadly effect is that they have spread a parapox virus which has nearly devasted the reds in this country.
    Thanks for the comments.