Red squirrels can live in both coniferous and deciduous woodland and are widely distributed across Europe and northern Asia.
What is the red squirrel’s preferred habitat?
Due to their wide-ranging diet, red squirrels are able to live in a range of different forest habitats. They are found in both coniferous and deciduous (broadleaved) woodlands. The seeds of trees make up a large part of their diet and an ideal habitat will have a variety different tree species, so that if one species has a poor seed year, there are other food sources available.
Squirrels sleep in dreys. These are built out of sticks, high in trees out of reach of predators, and are lined with moss, leaves and wool. A squirrel will have 3 or 4 dreys which it uses on a regular basis and a bigger breeding drey in which it will give birth and raise young.
Where is the red squirrel found?
Red squirrels are found across much of Europe and northern Asia and the species is categorised by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as Least Concern. However, within the UK their range and numbers have undergone a huge decline in the last century, and only approximately 121,000 remain today, 3/4 of which are in Scotland. Habitat loss has been one of the main drivers of the decline, along with the introduction of the non-native grey squirrel. Grey squirrels are able to digest the tannins found in broadleaved seeds such as acorns earlier in the year, enabling them to out-compete our native reds in this type of habitat. Due to this, in the UK red squirrels are mainly now found only in coniferous woodland, where they are not so easily out-competed, and are largely restricted to Scotland, which holds 3/4 of the UK population.
The red squirrel is found in all these countries!