A Fife resident has shared his incredible photos of the brazen red squirrels that have taken to inhabiting his back garden.
David Scott, who lives in Dalgety Bay, was delighted when the little native squirrels, with their unique ginger fur and tufted ears, first appeared in November 2020.
The little creatures are usually quite elusive, sticking to the dense ancient woodlands of Highlands and Perthshire away from their bigger cousins the grays and usually humans too.
However, the one the ex-firefighter calls “Wee Red” seems to show no fear at all and is happy to mix it up with not only the grays in David’s garden but also his pet ginger tomcat which the little red squirrel can often be seen staring at through the patio doors.
“The wee guy is quite distinguishable, he comes here quite regularly,” said David.
“He is definitely the more brazen one and is happy to come right up to the window, the others are a little more timid.”
The 54-year-old has been delighted by their antics and regularly snaps them feasting on his bird feeder.
He joked that Wee Red even took a liking for fat balls. Too big for him to carry, David said the tenacious little squirrel simply rolled it to the bottom of the garden where he could eat it in peace.
David has been surprised that the reds seem happy to live alongside the grays that already frequented his garden, but does worry about things like squirrel pox which the grays can carry.
Another big fear for him is the fact that activity on the green space behind his garden, which the nearby sailing club has taken to using for parking and storage, could be disrupting a thoroughfare the reds are using.
He added: “The activity in that grass area is definitely scaring the reds away. We don’t see them when people are down there.”
David explained that he has spoken to both the sailing club and the local council but to no avail with both seemingly happy to carry on as before despite the fact that the arrival of the red squirrels in the area is a boon for the area.
He added that there were originally three or four of them visiting his garden but it seems to have dropped to only two over the past six months.
A frustrated David believes the council aren’t looking at it from a red squirrel conservation angle, especially with this thriving pocket of reds appearing in an area they aren’t usually seen.
According to the scottishsquirrels.org.uk sightings map, these reds in Dalgety Bay are the closest they’ve been seen to Edinburgh and sightings in the area seem to be rarer than they are closer to the Highlands and Perthshire.”
We’ve approached Fife Council for comment.
David said he has been amazed by the reaction to his photographs online.
“I started putting photos on my local Facebook just for my friends, and then I made the post public and there’s been over 1600 likes and comments, it’s amazing, I can’t believe the reaction. There are people asking for more.
“I was a bit overwhelmed by how many people got in touch, it’s been really nice.
“The fact the numbers of reds here are very minimal and that they are competing with the greys, as well as the activity at the back of the garden, the more encouragement and help we can give them all the better.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.