Red squirrels in the Scottish Highlands
Red squirrels are one of Scotland’s best-loved animals. Now a rare sight in the UK, since the introduction of the American grey squirrel in the 1870s. Sadly, the greys out-compete the reds for food, and they also carry the squirrelpox virus, which is harmless to them but deadly to the reds. Fortunately, red squirrels still thrive in certain parts of the Scottish Highlands, where grey squirrel numbers are lower. Local to us, there are lots of places where you can spot the red squirrel. So here are a few tips for squirrel spotting during your stay with us at Eagle Brae…
Local places to spot red squirrels
Eagle Brae is nestled between the magnificent glens Glen Affric and Glen Strathfarrar, both of which offer Scots pine forest habitats, where reds thrive. We often spot them at Struy Wood, just a quarter of a mile from Eagle Brae, near our apple orchard, and at Carnoch Wood, a quarter of a mile to the south. We also sometimes see them around Aigas, halfway between Eagle Brae and Beauly.
Report your squirrel sightings
This week is “Red Squirrel Week” and the conservation project Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels is asking the public to report any sightings of red or grey squirrels between 10th and 16th October 2022. So if you’re out exploring this week, please report your sightings to the Great Scottish Squirrel Survey.
How to recognise a red squirrel
Red squirrels have a reddish-brown coat, a bushy tail and distinctive pointed ear tufts. They are smaller than grey squirrels, around 21 cm in length.
Where and when to look for them
Red squirrels are active during the day. They don’t hibernate, so you can spot them all year round. They are found in any woodland, garden or parkland, but mainly in the coniferous forests of the Scottish Highlands. You may see them in the trees, running up and down branches or across the floor. They can jump from tree to tree, up to a distance of 2 metres. They are timid and fast-moving, so keep your eyes peeled!
Eagle Brae is the perfect holiday destination for wildlife lovers. Find out about our other local residents, with our blogs on ospreys, otters, kingfishers, pine martens, deer and golden eagles.