Silver/grey, agouti (speckled) coat, with a brownish tinge on feet, face and along the back, especially in summer. Tail fringed white. Larger than red squirrel. Can have red tinge to fur.
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Tracks can be seen in mud (see photo), sand and snow. Forefoot width is 2.5cm and length 3.5cm and hind foot width is 3.5cm and length 4.5cm.
Droppings are usually found near trees. They can be dark grey or black and are often sweet smelling. This does depend on their diet, especially true if diet includes pine cones. They are small, round pellet shapes (5-8mm long and 5mm thick).
Squirrels, much like birds, split nuts open at the top, leaving jagged edges and irregular pieces. They prise the nut apart after making an incision at the top. By comparison, mice and vole gnaw holes in nuts in a characteristic pattern.
The nests of red squirrel (and grey squirrel) are known as dreys. They are spherical collections (approx. 30cm across, at least 6m above the ground) of twigs and leaves which are usually located in the fork of the branches, close to the trunk.
It is easier to observe these in winter, when there are fewer leaves on the trees. It is not possible to distinguish between red and grey squirrel dreys.
Widespread throughout the UK, except areas of northern Scotland and northern England. Found in Ireland, especially towards the east. (Maps are based on expert advice, as of 2007. Some species ranges may have changed in the time since. We are currently in the process of updating the maps.)
Mainly tree seeds and plant material. Wide range of other foods can be taken, tree flowers in spring. May scavenge litter bins and bird tables.
Males 2-3 years, 5 years for females.