Randy Devon squirrel who fathered 12 babies retires

Radish has fathered 12 babies - helping the squirrel breeding programme due to declining population numbers.
Radish Credit: BPM Media

A 'super breeder' Devon squirrel, who fathered 12 babies, is retiring to an all-male animal enclosure in Kent later this week.

Five-year-old Radish will leave wildlife conservation charity Wildwood Escot, in Ottery St Mary, after helping with its red squirrel breeding programme due to declining population numbers.

Senior keeper at Wildwood Escot, Ben Gregory said: “Radish is a real star. He has playeda crucial role in our breeding efforts producing a total of twelve kits for release projects.

"We’re all sorry to see him go, but he’s certainly earned his retirement.”

Radish is set to be released into a spacious walk-through woodland enclosure at the charity’s Kent site. There he will join a small group of males, which includes other veterans, in the fight to save the red squirrel.

Ben said: “We also have an open woodland habitat here in Devon, but in order to have proper control over breeding, ours is an all-female facility while the enclosure at our sister park in Kent is all-male.

"In addition to providing an excellent opportunity for visitors to see this iconic species in their natural habitat, these amazing woodland habitats enable us to provide a fitting retirement for both our male and female squirrels once they’ve left the programme.”

Established in 2002, the Wildwood Trust specialises in the protection and promotion of British wildlife and wild spaces. Much of the charity’s work involves the breeding of endangered species for managed release programmes.