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OS Wallpaper Download: November 2021

• • Nov 04, 2021 • 3 minutes

OS Wallpaper Download: November 2021 - Red Squirrel on the Isle of Wight by Peter Trimming

This time of the year you will find the squirrels being very active, storing up nuts and building up body fat to survive the winter. While grey squirrels dominate most of the country, you can still find native red squirrels in Scotland, and in isolated pockets in England and Wales.

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Grey squirrels were only introduced to the UK in the late 1800s, but they were able to replace the native red squirrel population in many areas. Grey squirrels are little bigger, but more importantly are able to digest a wider variety of foods, allowing them to spread more easily. They are also far less susceptible to squirrelpox, which is often fatal to red squirrels, but which the greys can carry.

They do have one big advantage in being ridiculously photogenic - although patience is required as they can be very timid. While they can vary in colour from ginger red to blonde, brown, greyish or nearly black, they can be recognised as they are smaller than greys, and almost always have the tufted ears seen here.

This photo was taken from Geograph and is licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence. The photographer, Peter Trimming, is a huge red squirrel fan, having previously written about another colony in his book Belinda: The Forest How Red Squirrel (Amazon link), a photography and wildlife report about a colony of squirrels in the Forest How that was nearly wiped out by squirrelpox, and their road to recovery.

If you want to find out more about red squirrels, and what you can do to help protect them, here's some useful links:

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