Spot a squirrel
Contrary to popular belief, squirrels do not hibernate and can be seen on bright winter days as low sunlight illuminates them.
They do spend much of the autumn foraging for winter food and stay in their nest when days are wet and cold but can be seen scampering around or running up tree trunks in city and country parks on dry days throughout the winter.
The North American grey squirrels – introduced into Ireland in 1911 – remain very unpopular for displacing the native red squirrels and damaging trees as they eat tree bark and buds.
However, there is evidence to suggest that grey squirrel populations have declined in the midlands counties, possibly due to the increased presence of European pine martens. Red squirrel populations have thus recovered in counties Laois, Offaly and in north Tipperary as pine martens and red squirrels can co-exist as native species.
While Howth and Killiney remain the
only parts of Dublin where red squirrels can be seen, there are concerns that the grey squirrels are encroaching more and more into these areas.
Red squirrel populations have started to recover in Laois, Offaly and north Tipperary