Red squirrels recognise the odour of pine martens, grey squirrels don’t

Joshua Twining and colleagues from Queen’s University Belfast have recently published a study in Royal Society Open Science that shows that red squirrels are better than grey squirrels at detecting the scent of pine martens. This may be one reason why alien grey squirrels tend to ‘disappear’ when pine martens move into an area, whereas red squirrels, which have evolved alongside pine martens, are able to behaviourally respond and avoid the danger. This favours the return of red squirrels to areas where they had previously been replaced by grey squirrels (see BBC News, Yahoo News, The Irish Times, RTE, Irish Mirror, The Scotsman).

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