Photo of Red squirrel

The red squirrel (ecureuil) in France is more common then the grey squirrel - a constant surprise to visitors from the UK where grey squirrels have largely evicted the red squirrel population.

The bronze-red hair of the squirrel sometimes has areas of much darker, almost black, hair. A mature squirrel might measure 20cm long with a 15 cm tail.

The red squirrel lives usually in a nest (drey) that it makes in the fork of a tree. It eats mostly seeds, fruits and nuts and in the autumn stocks food in holes (often in tree trunks) in preparation for the winter.

The red squirrel is (unusually for a mammal) active in the day rather than the night, and is not especially timid, so is frequently seen near human habitations, although when food is plentiful they prefer to stay in the security of the tree tops.

See more wildlife in France.

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