Red Squirrels or Grey Squirrels – Saturday Question 2


Happy Saturday All!

So a few weeks a go I was taking a walk through Regents Park and there are hundreds of squirrels there. They are all grey and have no fear whats so ever. So my question today is why did the red squirrels disappear?

Red squirrels haven’t quite disappeared there’s still a healthy population in mainland europe and there are populations in Scotland. In England however, the population is almost extinct. The main reason for this is Grey squirrels.

Grey squirrels were introduced from North America as an ornamental species to populate the grounds of stately homes in the 1870s. Grey squirrels are larger and can cope with living in denser populations in comparison to the red squirrels and here is where the problems started.

The grey squirrels started to take over by eating acorns earlier than when they became palatable for the red squirrels as well as literally forcing from there habitat. The grey squirrels also brought squirrelpox virus with them, this then continued to devastate the red squirrel population. Red squirrels are also more susceptible to other diseases. The damage was eventually noticed and it is now illegal to release grey squirrels into the wild but for the populations of red squirrels in England this all came too late.

That does all sounds a little miserable however the red squirrel areas are now highly protected so they can live on.

ThatBiologist Everywhere!





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