General

The squirrel that kills and eats deer

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

A recent article in The Washington Post describes a species of ground squirrel in Borneo that jumps on unsuspecting muntjac deer and rips open its jugular vein. After the deer has bled out, the squirrel apparently feeds on its heart, stomach and liver, but not the flesh. The story concerns the antics of the tufted ground squirrel (Reithrosciurus macrotis) and is […]

Fermate lo scoiattolo grigio”, Francia e Svizzera contro l’Italia

Monday, February 9th, 2015

The Italian newspaper La Zampa – La Stampa (Turin) have published an interesting article saying that both France and Switzerland have warned Italy that there will be a diplomatic ‘war’ if they  find a single grey squirrel in their territory. Time will tell!

To cull or not to cull grey squirrels!

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

The debate about whether grey squirrels should be controlled has recently come into focus again on the BBC’s Breakfast TV programme. Grey squirrels are already controlled to minimise damage to trees and for red squirrel conservation but apparently  the UK Government is considering whether more needs to be done. The arguments for and against are emotive […]

New disease threat to red squirrels in Scotland

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

A new disease threat has recently been identified in red squirrels from Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland (BBC Scotland). Six animals have been found infected with a bacteria similar to Mycobacterium lepromatosis which causes leprosy. Signs of the disease are swollen nose, eyelids, ears and feet. Prof Anna Meredith from the Royal Dick School of […]

UK Squirrel Initiative – Meeting 2nd May 2014

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Representatives from more than 50 parties interested in squirrels met at Dumfries House, Ayrshire, Scotland on 2nd May to discuss a new squirrel accord to conserve red squirrels. HRH Prince Charles attended during the afternoon. Speakers included The Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,  Mr Paul Wheelhouse […]

Return of the red squirrel to Portugal

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Red squirrels became extinct in Portugal in the 16th century, probably as a result of hunting and deforestation. Now, recent news reports (Portuguese American Journal, The Portugal News Online) indicate that it is making a return. Red squirrels moved across from northwest Spain in the 1980s and sightings suggest it has now reached as far […]

The Grey Squirrels (Prohibition of Importation and Keeping) Order of 1937 is to be abolished.

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

On 18th March 2014, Oliver Heald, the Solicitor General, informed a government committee on deregulation: “The order requires occupiers to report the presence of grey squirrels on their land to facilitate the eradication of that species. However, it is no longer considered feasible to eradicate grey squirrels, so the requirement to report their presence on […]

New study on squirrelpox virus indicates transmission routes

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

A study recently published in PLOS ONE (also see Publications Page) by a team of leading researchers led by Quercus, the biodiversity and conservation research centre at Queen’s University, Belfast, indicates that the virus could be spread from grey squirrel to grey squirrel or grey squirrel to red squirrel in various ways. The virus, which […]

Red squirrels thriving on the Isle of Arran

Friday, January 31st, 2014

A recent study by a team of scientists led by Prof. Anna Meredith (Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh) has found that the red squirrels on the Isle of Arran are fit and in good health with no signs of the presence of squirrelpox virus. Arran is one of 19 Scottish red […]

Resistance to poxvirus observed in red squirrels at Formby, Lancashire, England

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Some 10% of the red squirrels captured at the National Trust’s Red Squirrel Reserve at Formby, Lancashire in recent years have had antibodies to squirrelpox virus in their blood. Red squirrels at the Reserve were hit badly by an outbreak of pox in 2008, and the population has been recovering since then (BBC News) The […]