Seeing Red

Original Author: Steve Willis, Project Officer Northeast Scotland

Some lucky folk out there see red squirrels all the time- so here’s some top tips on key things to report back to us at SSRS.


We are forever banging on about the need for Scotland’s squirrel enthusiasts to report their sightings of red and grey squirrels to our website at All well and good, but what about all those folks in the enviable position of seeing red squirrels in their garden on a daily basis? We don’t expect you to run to your computer every single time you see a red or grey, so here is our advice on what to look out for.

  • Report any remarkable numbers of animals – after the breeding season there are a lot of squirrels about, so you might find your numbers go up in late summer.
  • Let us know if there has been any period of prolonged absence. There could be a variety of reasons for this, but most often it is simply that the squirrels have gone back into the woods following a seasonal abundance of food.
  • Have red or grey squirrels made an appearance in your local woods or your garden for the very first time? Either way this is important data for us.
  • Is there any sign of breeding? Are there mating chases going on, young present (they are smaller with proportionately bigger head and paws and a very neat coat), or pregnant females? This sort of information can really help us!
  • Finally – never assume we always know where all the red or grey squirrels are! Our staff are thinly spread and we really do rely on the public to be our eyes and ears! Recording a sighting only takes a moment and is a huge help to us!

A heavily pregnant red squirrel visits a garden feeder in early summer. Photo: Hilary Gaunt

It is also very important for us to know about grey squirrels, so that we can keep an eye on their distribution. Sightings of greys are often followed up by staff or volunteers from SSRS, and very often these reports can help us direct trapping effort to key areas at key times of year.

Our new website has made the reporting process far simpler. Once you submit a record the details are seen by a member of the SSRS team who checks and verifies the report. Once it has been verified your sighting becomes an ‘official’ dot on the map!

So, please, keep in touch and keep all your records coming in! Thanks very much!!!

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