You can regularly see a red squirrel at Squirrel Cottage – guests are entertained for hours by the native red squirrel population .
About the native red squirrel
Our local red squirrel populations numbers between 14 to 17 red squirrels. The numbers do fluctuate slightly year to year. We can say this as a young lady staying at Squirrel Cottage identified and named the squirrels thereby being able to recognise and count them over a period of three yearly visits.
Generally the feeders are busy from Christmas though to September each year. The squirrels usually disappear during late August when the natural food begins to ripen. At this time you will often see them climbing the hazel trees in the surrounding woodland and garden.
The length of time the squirrels are away from the feeders depends on the supply of natural food available. If there has been a good crop the squirrels do not need the feeders until Christmas. If it is one of those years where the late frosts destroy the tree nuts, they hardly disappear at all.
Usually January, February March onwards there are high numbers of red squirrels at the feeders. Obviously as with all wild animals you cannot guarantee anything, they are wild and choose when to appear at the feeders.
What does a red squirrels eat?
The squirrel natural food consists of tree nuts, hazel, beach, pine seeds, but they will eat almost anything including shoots, buds in spring, Berries, fungi along with tree nuts in the autumn. Bark and lichen over the winter and early spring.
Squirrel feeder food we provide consists of sunflower and peanuts. Also calcium in the form of a red deer’s antler. Cuttlefish can also be a good source of calcium for squirrels at feeders.
A red squirrel winter and snow?
As with all small mammals the battle to keep warm and finding food is crucial to their survival. Red Squirrels do not hibernate, they do grow a thick winter coat and their tail becomes very bushy, all helping it to keep warm in its drey. The choice they face is going out and using valuable body reserves to find food or staying in their drey. The feeders help support or resident red squirrel population, guests will often see them at the feeders, even during a snow storm.
A Red Squirrel Description
Red squirrels spend almost all their time in the tree tops and occasionally will be seen on the ground searching for or burying nuts from our feeders.
Red squirrels are solitary animals that are at their most active in the mornings and early evenings. They can store little body fat, so need to eat regularly so spend up to 80% of their time searching for food.
Red squirrels have a life span up to 7 years. They do not hibernate, during winter months, so need to feed and gather excess food which they hide away underneath the soil for their winter store.
Female red squirrels give birth to 3 to 6 naked, toothless young generally in February & March (not the warmest months), and again between May and August. The young are independent after about 10 weeks. Research shows that up to 80% of the young do not survive the first winter.
Red Squirrel Feeders – The squirrels feed by lifting the lid and getting some peanuts out. They will then sit on the feeder ledge and munch away and then back in for another hand full of peanuts. Occasionally one decides to get in to the feeder with the nuts. Occasionally the red squirrels are found on our bird feeders.
Squirrel Cottage is ideal if you are looking for a Red Squirrels holiday.