Ponteland Red Squirrels
About Red Squirrels
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Urban areas, such as Ponteland, have less natural habitat and natural food available for red squirrels. Therefore, supplementary feeding is essential; as well as providing valuable nutrients, it will prevent starvation and encourage more regular breeding - red squirrels will mate more than once a year if food is plentiful, however, they may not breed at all if food is scarce. Feeding red squirrels can also provide hours of wonderful entertainment as you watch their amusing antics!
It is best to feed
a variety of different foods, similar to those that the
squirrel might forage for in the wild. In fact, the red
squirrel will pillage the nuts and seeds found naturally
in your garden.
Also provide a source of water if it is not naturally available.
note that grey squirrels love maize and mixed squirrel
food, therefore, to discourage them, dont provide
Where Can I Obtain a
How Often Should I Feed?
throughout the year. In the wild, red squirrels feed on
shoots and flowers in spring, and nuts and fruits in
autumn and winter. The critical period to feed reds is
during the summer months before the fruits and nuts are
ripe, when their natural food is in short supply.
Continued feeding throughout the winter will also provide
an additional boost to the squirrels in your area.
The following precautions are essential:
necessarily; squirrels may visit a number of locations
for food and may not visit your garden every day.
bury food so that they have a stock when it is hard to
find. Squirrels locate the food through smell.
usually live in woodlands and wooded areas. Occasionally,
they are found in the middle of fields, or on open
moorland - but this unusual behaviour is usually because
the squirrel has gone looking for a new woodland home and
has got lost.
warm and safe place to sleep, shelter and raise a family
is a top priority for any animal. In the squirrels' case,
the home can be either a natural tree hollow or a nest it
makes itself. These two types of home are known as Dens and Dreys.
is a Den?
A drey is a ball shaped nest about 50 centimeters across, made by the squirrel in the cleft of a tree. The nest is constructed of twigs and sticks that the squirrel carefully makes into a shelter. The twigs are built so that the centre is hollow; this hollow is then filled with soft material, just as with the den . The squirrel makes the nest by carefully selecting twigs, nibbling them off and then putting them into place using its teeth and front paws. A squirrel may make many trips back and forth to make its drey. A well made one may last for two or three years, through wind, rain and storms.
nest on the outside of the tree means that it might be
exposed to the wind and rain more easily. To try and
solve this problem the squirrel is careful about where it
makes its drey. Right in the middle of the tree, near the
trunk is a much better place than out on the end of the
squirrel will happily find enough to eat in both conifer
and deciduous woods, they are also equally happy to make
their nest in either coniferous or deciduous woods. Red
squirrels seem to be more successful in coniferous
forests, while grey squirrels prefer broad-leaved
squirrels can reproduce more than twice a year. However,
this is dependent on there being an adequate food supply.
If there is not, they may not even reproduce at all.
squirrels come to your garden to look for materials such
as moss for nest lining, or to drink from you garden
pond, the biggest attraction is food.
No! Squirrels are active virtually every day - yes that's right - every day. This includes the winter too. So, we can rule out the misconception that squirrels hibernate. Unlike dormice and bats, which put on lots of body fat and then hibernate, the squirrel keeps on going right through the winter. During the autumn the squirrels do put on body weight - but nowhere near enough to make hibernation possible. Only really windy, cold or wet weather keeps the squirrels tucked away in their nests. But if the weather stays bad for a few days they will have to come out and search for food anyway.
are most active first thing in the morning, Unfortunately
for us, one or two hours after dawn is the best time to
see them! Once they've digested their mornings' food they
will also be active at other times throughout the day,
but this varies. The search for food is never ending, and
this is nearly always the reason why squirrels are out
will eat a very wide range of foods. What they eat at a
particular time depends very much on its availability.
This is called non-selective feeding. Of all the foods
eaten by squirrels, tree seed is the most important. This
includes such things as pine seeds, beech nuts, acorns
and hazel nuts. These are all large seeds and they
provide a lot of food for the squirrel.