SD1399 : Red Squirrel Nest Box Construction

taken 3 years ago, near to Eskdale Green, Cumbria, Great Britain

Red Squirrel Nest Box Construction
Red Squirrel Nest Box Construction
At Forest How, construction of red squirrel nest boxes is in full swing.

The local red squirrel population was almost completely wiped out by the squirrelpox virus, in the summer of 2014. Whilst there are many ways in which the virus can be contracted, it is thought that open wounds can let the virus enter the bloodstream. When squirrels build a conventional drey from twigs and moss (it takes about three days to construct, and can last for two years), eyes can be scratched by the twigs when the squirrel enters the drey. Dreys can sometimes be used by more than one squirrel, resulting in a virus being transmitted rapidly.

The theory behind the nest box is that squirrels will avoid any scratches when they enter or leave the box.

John Harris, owner of Forest How, is building boxes with good ventilation, lined with lambs wool, and will give the squirrels a good start. Each squirrel will then customise their new home. Entry is via a 5cm hole at the side, which will be protected by a metal plate, to avoid grey squirrels entering by enlarging the hole. Research has confirmed that a 5cm hole is too small for the larger grey squirrel.

Boxes are being named and numbered, so a resident can be matched to a specific address and location in the wood. Although it is thought that there are currently only two or three red squirrels, the demand is there for quality housing (and squirrels are lazy). A squirrel was using an open-fronted bird box in early summer, and today's checking of bird boxes has suggested that one might be in use by a red squirrel, as the entry hole has been considerably enlarged. Two other boxes also showed early signs of similar activity.
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SD1399, 563 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Thursday, 4 September, 2014   (more nearby)
Submitted
Friday, 5 September, 2014
Geographical Context
Construction, Development 
Place (from Tags)
Eskdale Valley 
County (from Tags)
Cumbria 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SD 1374 9960 [10m precision]
WGS84: 54:23.0733N 3:19.7837W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SD 1374 9959
View Direction
West-northwest (about 292 degrees)
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Other Tags
Forest How  Red Squirrel  Nest Box 

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