Here in our garden, and in the Midlands generally, we only see the Grey Squirrel which is common and widespread. They are very endearing – but they shouldn’t be here in the UK! They were introduced from North America nearly 200 years ago and have spread throughout, now numbering about 2.7 million.
In the autumn, squirrels bring walnuts from a tree in a neighbouring garden about 150m away to bury them in our garden – but they never come back to retrieve them!
The introduction of Grey Squirrels has had a disastrous effect on our native squirrel species, the Red Squirrel. They compete with Red Squirrels for food and also carry a virus known as squirrelpox. While Greys are actually immune to the disease, they transmit it to Reds, for whom it is fatal. Red Squirrels are now confined to places, such as in Scotland, where Greys are rare or absent. We have seen Red Squirrels in Scotland.
Moving away from our garden, I want to squeeze rabbits into today’s post!
Below is a picture of a rabbit scrape with the familiar droppings. Since rabbits are mainly nocturnal (the young one above hasn’t yet learnt about the dangers of being out during the day!), they actually produce soft droppings in their burrows during the day which they eat, to keep their burrows clean, and then do the familiar droppings outside their burrows during the night!