The Red Squirrel is perhaps the best known and most popular wild animal on the Island. The UK’s only native squirrel has been driven out of most parts of the country, but still thrives here on the Island. They can be hard to spot so here are some tips to help you.
- Listen for a rustling in the treetops, you’ll often hear a squirrel moving above you before you manage to spot it.
- If you have a squirrel munching above you, you may be showered by paper-like pine cone seeds.
- Peak activity times are dawn and dusk all year. Squirrels react to sound and movement, so stand still and keep quiet.
- Look right up into the tree canopy, red squirrels can balance on some very thin branches.
- Head for a spot where you are most likely to see them. The Gift to Nature viewing hide at Parkhurst Forest was built specifically for red squirrel viewing – watch in comfort here. Other good sites include Alverstone Mead nature reserve and Robin Hill Country Park, which also has a visitor centre with lots of squirrel information.
Other Gift to Nature sites where squirrels are more likely to be seen:
- Gift to Nature Red Squirrel Hide at Parkhurst Forest
- Sandown Community Orchard
- Dodnor Creek and Dicksons Copse
- Batts Copse
- The Landslip
Image courtesy of Peter Trimming