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205 illustration

Red squirrel

Sciurus vulgaris

The squirrel measures around 25 centimetres in length and its bushy tail is another 15 to 20 centimetres long. It weighs between 230 and 480 grams and has a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. The fur is reddish on top with whitish underparts and it has a tuft of long hair at the end of each ear.

Living in woods, forests and parks up to altitudes of 2,000 metres, the red squirrel is found in Europe, Siberia, Japan and Korea.

The red squirrel feeds on plant and leaf buds, coniferous and deciduous seeds, mushrooms, insects, and the eggs and chicks of nesting birds in the spring. Active throughout the year, the red squirrel builds a spherical nest 40 centimetres in diameter out of leaves, moss and small branches, high up in the tree crown. A diurnal animal, it mostly moves between trees and rarely goes to the ground for food. It is extremely nimble and jumps from branch to branch and tree to tree.

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