They supplement these with nuts from other trees such as beech and sweet chestnut, and with berries and, occasionally, fungi and insects. The red squirrel’s life expectancy is six years but only about one in six survives to adulthood. Cars, cats and dogs but also foxes, weasels and larger birds, especially buzzards, spell danger.
Looking after the woods for squirrels
We're actively managing woodland to support a healthy population of red squirrels. At Newtown and Borthwood, small areas of hazel are coppiced on an eight to 14 year cycle to create a varied habitat.
Hedge laying prolongs the life of hedges and helps to thicken up the growth from the bottom. Hedges provide important links for wildlife between areas of woodland. We also make sure that there are overhanging tree branches across woodland rides to leave ‘high-level corridors’ from tree to tree.
Where to spot red squirrels on the island
Borthwood Copse is one of the best places, although they're shy and easily disturbed by noise. They can be seen in the woodland around Newtown, across the Mottistone Estate and in the Forestry Commission’s Parkhurst Forest – and in many other parts of the Island.