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The habitat of the red squirrel (Eurasian squirrel) basically follows the Taiga from the Pacific to the Atlantic ocean, including also the rest of Europe south to the Mediterranean. In Great Britain and Ireland however, numbers have decreased drastically in recent years, in part because of the introduction of the eastern grey squirrel from North America.

The image shows one of the guys I spent hours videotaping yesterday, resulting in around 15 minutes of video, unedited.

I’m so lucky to have two squirrel couples living nearby and it is real fun to study their behaviour. There is some animosity present between the couples, even if they have nest in different trees. They engange in daily fights, but I’m not sure they are so serious… it is more like marking territory. The fights are very hard to film as these little critters are incredibly fast! Up and down trees, around in the grass at amazing speed…

Bribing is of course the strategy to make them cool down and cooperate, and squirrels love brownies! Peanuts are not a favourite but dry bread is fine, I have even seen them nibble salami but that is rather low on the list.

The red squirrel has a typical head-and-body length of 19 to 23 cm, a tail length of 15 to 20 cm and a body weight of 250 to 340 g. The red squirrel is somewhat smaller than the eastern grey squirrel. It is thought that the long tail helps the squirrel to balance and steer when jumping from tree to tree and running along branches and it may also keep the animal warm during sleep.

The coat of the red squirrel varies in colour with time of year and location. There are several different coat colour morphs ranging from almost black to red. The underside of the squirrel is always cream white in colour.

The red squirrel sheds the fur coat twice a year, switching from a thinner summer coat to a thick darker winter coat with noticeably larger ear-tufts between August and November.

In the picture you can see a red squirrel in summer coat enjoying a slice of brownie in the morning sun.

WORKSHOP A shows a fellow eating dry bread and still wearing most of the grey winter coat, WORKSHOP B shows one of the guys up a tree looking for fresh cone buds which seems to be a real treat for them!

(some of the facts from Wikipedia)

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Additional Photos by Pablo Minto (pablominto) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9892 W: 315 N: 14432] (53746)
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