Red squirrels enjoy the first signs of spring in Devon

A red squirrel enjoys the first daffodils at Wildwood Escot in East Devon. Credit: Wildwood Escot

The five resident red squirrels at Wildwood Escot in East Devon have been enjoying the first signs of spring - including a host of golden daffodils - in their woodland home.

Twiglet, Blossom and the other red squirrels are sure to get the most out of the spring flowers, as the species has an extraordinary sense of smell. This allows them to forage for nuts and seeds and to find food previously hidden underground in the wild. 

Squirrel keeper Becky Copland said: “Our red squirrels are so curious about anything new and they will investigate everything down to the last leaf, much to the joy of anyone observing them.”

Red squirrels have a keen sense of smell that allows them to sniff out buried nuts. Credit: Wildwood Escot

The charity recently welcomed two new female red squirrels to Wildwood Escot. They will become a vital part of the park’s conservation breeding programme.

This much-loved species is endangered in England and Wales, facing a number of threats including loss of habitat and competition from the American grey squirrel that carries a virus that is harmful to British reds.

It is hoped that there will be new babies at Wildwood Escot in time for its re-opening on 12 April. Credit: Wildwood Escot

The new arrivals' babies - known as kits - will potentially be released into the wild with conservation partners across the UK, ensuring the survival of the iconic British species for future generations. 

Wildwood Escot has been breeding red squirrels for reintroduction across Britain since 2002.

The park at Ottery St Mary is due to re-open on Monday 12 April 2021. Hopefully, there will be some new red squirrel kits for people to spot when they are able to visit again.

ITV West Country reporter Bob Cruwys got up close and personal with the tiny mammals at Wildwood Escot in autumn 2020.

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