Red squirrels have been found in England since the end of the last Ice Age and are part of our native fauna. The non-native grey squirrel was introduced to England in the late 1870s from America and is the primary cause of decline of the red squirrel. It does so by out-competing red squirrels for food in deciduous and mixed woodlands and transmitting a virus, the squirrel poxvirus, that is lethal to red squirrels.
Keep your eyes peeled in Upper Eden for both red and grey squirrels. It is quite easy to tell them apart – but don’t rely on the coat colour. The reds are considerably smaller and often have long tufts to their ears. Greys always have small, rounded ears and have white hairs along the edge of the tail, giving the tail a halo.
If you see a squirrel, please inform Red Squirrels Northern England. Your sightings are very valuable in monitoring the up-to-date locations of red squirrels and the spread of grey squirrels.