The Great Scottish Squirrel Survey returns!

The Great Scottish Squirrel Survey returns back in-person for its fourth year this autumn. Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels is calling on people all over Scotland to explore outdoors and look out for tufted ears and bushy tails between 10-16 October (National Red Squirrel Week).

SSRS monitors squirrel populations all year round; but autumn remains a particularly rewarding time of year for squirrel-spotting. Squirrels are often more visible as they busily forage the autumn harvest in preparation for the winter ahead.

Red Squirrel feeding on nuts. ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot

Anyone can take part in the Great Scottish Squirrel Survey by reporting sightings of both red and grey squirrels throughout the week. Each sighting creates a snapshot of the situation, helping the project understand how populations are changing over time and to decide where to focus its conservation efforts.

To find out more and record your squirrel sightings, visit

Red Squirrel ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot

Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels is a partnership project that is working to ensure red squirrels continue to be a part of Scotland’s special native wildlife. Together, we are working to protect areas where red squirrels are thriving, and help combat the spread of the non-native grey squirrel. The project is a partnership led by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and includes NatureScot, Scottish Forestry, RSPB Scotland, Scottish Land & Estates and Red Squirrel Survival Trust.

While 75% of the UK’s remaining red squirrels are found here, their numbers have fallen drastically in recent decades. This is largely due the spread of the non-native grey squirrel, which was first introduced from North America by people in the late 1800s. Grey squirrels also carry squirrelpox, a virus that doesn’t harm them but is deadly to reds.

With the help of partners, landowners and local volunteers, the project is monitoring squirrel numbers across Scotland, managing the impact of squirrelpox, and helping to combat the spread of grey squirrels in key strategic areas.

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