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The Cute Red Squirrel

Please Note We Do not Remove the Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

The red squirrel, or sciurus vulgaris leucourus is a species of squirrel native to much of Eurasia. Although red squirrels were once abundant, their numbers have been dwindling thanks in part to the introduction of the larger, stronger, and hardier grey squirrel. It is widely believed that the grey squirrel has ousted the red squirrel, but that belief isn’t entirely true. While individuals of the two species have been observed fighting, the real reason why the red squirrel population has been decimated is because of the squirrel parapoxvirus, a disease carried by the grey squirrel that is deadly to the red squirrel. As red squirrels have died out, greys have begun to take over their vacant territory.

Red squirrels tend to be smaller than their grey cousins. The head and body of an adult red squirrel tends to be between 180 to 240mm, and the tail measures approximately 175mm. Juvenile squirrels weigh between 100 and 150g, and adults weigh about 350g. Females give birth to litters of about three to four kittens one or two times a year, and wean their young for about 10 weeks. Red squirrels generally don’t reach sexual maturity and begin breeding until they are at least 12 months old.

While grey squirrels can do considerable damage to trees, make nests in the ceilings of houses, and generally become pests, sciurus vulgaris leucourus is not considered a pest. In fact, efforts have been made in Europe to protect the red squirrel. The red squirrel isn’t in the same immediate danger that many other endangered species face, but there are thought to be less than 140,000 red squirrels alive today. The decrease in population has been attributed to the presence of grey squirrels and the rise of squirrel parapoxvirus, but human presence has also played a role. The natural wooded habitat of the red squirrel has become fragmented or outright destroyed through industrialization and deforestation. The United Kingdom has put into place several conservation efforts intended to save the red squirrel from extinction. These efforts have even gone as far as to include a mass culling program of the eastern gray squirrel throughout the United Kingdom in 2006.

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