Grey squirrels are a huge threat to the native red squirrels. Whilst being larger and more robust, they also compete more successfully than red squirrels for food. They also carry the squirrel pox virus, which although does not affect the grey squirrel, it can be fatal for red squirrels.
This guide will explain the threats and who to contact if you see an ill squirrel.
An infected squirrel is unable to see or feed properly and will become malnourished. The disease is highly infectious and a squirrel will die within 15 days.
- Scabs or discharge around the eyes, nose, mouth, feet, ears and genitalia.
- Lesions or swelling
- Skin ulcers
- Increasing lethargy as the disease progresses
What to do if you find a red squirrel with symptoms that could be squirrel pox:
- If you see a red squirrel, dead or alive, and it might have squirrel pox, contact a Project Officer from the Red Squirrels in South Scotland immediately.
What you can do to help prevent the spread of squirrel pox:
- If you are feeding a red squirrel, make sure that any feeders are kept as clean as possible to prevent the spread of disease. Click here for a guide on feeding squirrels.
- If both red and grey squirrels are seen using the same feeder, stop feeding immediately
Caused by a parasitic protoazoan which lives in the gut, it can be caught by red squirrels eating at feeders which harbour the parasite.
To help reduce the chances of red squirrels catching this disease, it is advised that squirrel feeders are cleaned regularly.
For more information on how to help red squirrels, click here.