Photographing Red Squirrels In The Peak District by Manni Pearce
I decided to take a trip to the Peak District last week to photograph Red Squirrels following reading an article about hides situated near Hawes.
I have always loved to photograph Red Squirrels and usually visit Brownsea Island, near Poole, Dorset which is owned by the National Trust. As you are probably already aware, there are 2 types of squirrel in the UK, Red and Grey Squirrels. Red Squirrels are a native species to the UK and have lived in our woodlands for around 10,000 years. Grey Squirrels were introduced to the UK from North Amreica by the victorians in the 1800's
The Grey Squirrel is the main reason for the decline of the Red Squirrel together with habitat loss. Grey Squirrels carry a virus called Squirrelpox which is fatal to Red Squirrels. Once infected, they often suffer a slow and painful death. The virus produces sores and scabs around the eyes, mouth, nose, feet and ears. The squirrel then becomes blind and is unable to find food and will then suffer from starvation.
There are an estimated 140,000 Red Squirrels in the UK with populations concentrated around Wales, Northern England, Isle of Wight and Scotland.
Red Squirrels will generally eat tree seeds, berries, fungi, birds eggs and even tree sap. They love hazelnuts but have trouble digesting acorns. Red Squirrels love to look after their teeth by gnawing on pieces of deer antler which contains calcium.
Who knew Red Squirrels could swim? Yes, squirrels can swim but are not that good at it. They use their tails as a rudder and use the "Doggy Paddle" technique.
As you can see from this picture, this little guy dived in to retrieve a hazelnut but obviously found the water a bit cold.