Images Photographs: Red Squirrels
Formby Dunes and Lake District


red-squirrel Formby Dunes near Liverpool, is one of the last remaining red squirrel strongholds in Britain. The Dunes, an area of sand dune forested with Scotch Pine trees, backs on to the Irish Sea. Until the 2008 outback of squirrel pox the colony numbered over one thousand squirrels. Particularly in winter and early morning or late evening the squirrels would approach close to you, especially if you are prepared to keep still or make no sudden movements. Notice the long hair tufts on the ears of males in Summer?

nuts Red squirrels do not hibernate. They seek shelter in dreys, round structures, the size of a football, made of twigs,leaves and moss. Mating occurs in winter. Five weeks later between 3 to 8 blind and naked babies are born. These remain with their parents for only 10 weeks, after which the young squirrels lead independent lives.

Eighteen months ago squirrel pox virus decimated the Formby Dunes colony, wiping out over 90% of the population, leaving only a hundred or so survivors, sending them high into the tree tops- making them very difficult to see. Happily in the last two years numbers are recovering, and it is now believed (July 2010) that there are at least 200 red squirrels at Formby. You have an greatly improved chance of seeing this beautiful animal. One can only wish them well in their recovery.

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