Red Squirrel Facts

Here are some facts about the red squirrel.

  • Red squirrels (sometimes referred to as the Eurasian red squirrel) are found in northern Europe and Siberia.
  • The Latin name for the red squirrel is Sciurus vulgaris.

  • Populations of red squirrels have fallen dramatically in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Italy. This is mostly due to the introduction of the eastern grey squirrel (from North America), a species which is really good at finding food in broad-leaved woodlands.
  • Red squirrels are usually about 20 cm long, with a tail of a similar length. They are smaller than eastern grey squirrels.
  • The red squirrels’ long bushy tail helps them to balance when they are running on branches and jumping across branches. It may also be used to keep them warm when they sleep.
  • In the United Kingdom, most red squirrels have red/orange coats, but other populations around the world have darker coats. In winter all red squirrels grow a darker coat and they have longer ear tufts.
  • Red squirrels have long, sharp claws to help them to grip branches and the bark of trees.

Red Squirrel

  • Almost 80% of baby squirrels die during their first winter.
  • Squirrels live for around 7 years.
  • They live in nests called dreys. These are often located in holes in trees created by woodpeckers.
  • They eat mostly seeds, nuts (particularly hazelnuts) and berries.
  • Red squirrels bury surplus food. They can usually remember where they buried their food, but often the food goes undiscovered.
  • Squirrels are preyed upon by pine martens, cats, stoats, owls, buzzards, red foxes and dogs.
  • Most of the red squirrels in the United Kingdom are located in Scotland.
  • Ratatoskr is a red squirrel from Norse mythology. He carried messages up and down Yggdrasill (the world tree).
  • One of Beatrix Potter‘s most well-loved characters, Squirrel Nutkin, is a red squirrel.
  • There are several red squirrel characters in Brian Jaques’ Redwall book series, including Jess Squirrel, Rufe Brush, and Rakkety Tam MacBurl.