Frequently Asked Questions

Regarding Squirrels

What is the scientific name for a Red Squirrel?
The scientific name is Sciurus vulgaris. The red squirrel or Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is a species of tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus common throughout Eurasia. The red squirrel is an arboreal, omnivorous rodent.
Do they hibernate?
No, but they are less active when the weather is bad and can stay at home in their drey for several days at a time.
Where can I see red squirrels in Northumberland?
Some good spots are: Wallington, Kielder Castle (Red Squirrel World Information Room and dedicated hide), Kidland Forest, Woodhorn Museum (two dedicated feeding stations) and Howick Gardens & Aboretum.
What are the main threats facing red squirrels?
The main threat to red squirrels is the spread of the invasive non-native grey squirrel. Grey squirrels compete more successfully than red squirrels for food and habitat. They are bigger and more robust and can digest seeds with high tannin content, such as acorns, more efficiently.

Habitat loss has also contributed to the red squirrel’s decline. Habitat loss and fragmentation occurs when areas of woodland are destroyed or become separated by new development and changing land use. This leads to isolated areas which cannot sustain viable populations of wildlife, including red squirrels.

The squirrelpox virus is fatal to red squirrels but is carried by grey squirrels without causing them any harm.
What is squirrelpox and what can be done about it?
Squirrelpox is a virus which is carried by grey squirrels without causing them harm, but is fatal to red squirrels. It produces scabs in and around the eyes, nose, mouth, feet ears and genitalia. The infected red squirrel is soon unable to see or to feed properly becoming rapidly malnourished and kills within 15 days of infection.

A vaccine is in development but could be many years before it is available, affordable and easily dispensable.

At this time protection for red squirrels from this awful virus can only be achieved by targeted and co-ordinated grey squirrel control to keep densities very low in target areas. Previous work has shown that this approach can work to help red squirrels not only to survive, but to thrive, even returning to areas where they have not been seen for many years.
Can red squirrels survive in England?
It is estimated that without action red squirrels will become extinct in England within a decade. However, because of the work being done by red squirrel organisations and voluntary groups like ourselves the decline has been held and in some areas red squirrels numbers are on the increase.

Regarding Our Group

What area do you cover?
We mostly operate throughout the Coquet valley area, eastwards from the A697 down to the coast.

If you want to know anything that is not provided here, please use the Contact Us page and ask us the question.