Welcome to the Trans Pennine Trail

A national coast to coast route for recreation and transport – for walkers, cyclists and (in parts) horse riders

Here’s all you need to know about Sophie Squirrel

What I look like – The colour of our fur seems to change with the seasons. In summer we’re reddish-brown and in winter we can appear to be dark brown and grey. We have tufts of fur on our ears which get larger in winter.

Red squirrels move around by hopping / jumping when on the ground.

Lifespan / Young / Body Facts – I live for a maximum of seven years and grow between 18 and 24cm tall. Red Squirrels weigh between 250 – 350g and our tails can measure between 14 – 20 cms.

Our babies are called kittens and we can have up to 6 but normally only 2 / 3. Unfortunately less than half of the young red squirrels grow to be adults.

What I eat – Our main diet is seeds. I eat pine seeds (cones), acorns, berries, fungi, bark and even bird’s eggs. I sometimes bury my food under ground and go back for it later – although I often forget where I’ve hidden it. We can tell the difference between a good nut and a bad nut by holding them in our paws.

Where I live – We live in large conifer forests, normally over 50 hectares and build nests in the forks of tree trunks – called ‘dreys’. We don’t hibernate but like to eat plenty in autumn, ready for the winter months. We spend much of our time up in the tree canopy. We normally live alone apart from mating season.

Squirrel footprintsTracks – Our forefoot has four long slender toes with claws that are clearly marked in our tracks. The toes are not seen in the track. The track is approx 4cm long and 2m broad.

The hind-foot has five toes: the three centre ones are long and slender, about the same size and clearly marked in the track. The outer toe and the inner toe are much shorter and leave a less distinct track. All have pointed claws which nearly always leave marks in the track. The hind-foot is approx 5 cm long and 2.3 – 3.5 cm broad.

You will find our tracks lie together in groups of four. Here is what my footprints look like. If you click here you can download a copy to take out on the Trail.

Other Facts – Until the arrival of the Grey Squirrel in the UK in the early 20th century I was the only European Squirrel you’d find along the Trail. I’ve now been out numbered by the Grey Squirrel. So it’ll be a little tricky for you to spot me when you’re out and about but if you do see me, let me know and we can build up a history of where I live on the TPT!

Why not have a go at one of my masks? Remember – you may need to ask a grown-up for help, especially when cutting around they eyes. Click here for the Print and Colour page.

Back to Kid's section

Lots of ideas for our younger visitors, including treasure hunts!

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