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Red Squirrel(Iora Rua) --: 
is a small, reddish, tree- living animal with a long bushy tail. It is smaller than the grey squirrel, also found in Ireland. The red squirrel is native to this country and it may have been re-introduced in the last century. Some biologists suggest, that there are two types of red squirrel in Ireland today, the native Irish red squirrel and the introduced red squirrel.  It is a forest creature, which lives almost all the time in coniferous forests.   It is more common in Ireland than is generally known and is fairly wide spread particularly in the southwest and south of Ireland. 

We have a red squirrel in our classroom. He is called Sammy. He  was knocked down by our teacher a few years ago. He got him stuffed and brought him into school because his wife did not like the look of him. He is now the class mascot. He keeps an eye on us when the teacher has to leave the room on a message. 

Its summer coat is red and during summer the he has large ears tufts. Their ear tufts are lost in the winter when his fur changes colour to a brownish grey. As a result, he is often confused with the grey squirrel. You will know the grey squirrel from the red squirrel, by its size and its home. The grey squirrel has a longer body and lives in deciduous (trees which loose their leaves in Autumn) and mixed woods. The red squirrel builds its nests or drey in trees well above ground level. The drey is made up of leaves, twigs  and grasses. Squirrels can breed twice in a season, in spring and in late summer. There are between one and six young in a litter. The young are born naked and blind. After about eight weeks they are able to look after themselves.

The red squirrels are very lively during the day especially in the morning. Their diet consists of nuts, acorns and cones. They are particularly fond of pinecones. Squirrels often strip the bark from the trunks of forest conifer trees but the reasons for this are not known. In some parts of Ireland whole plantations have been damaged. Red Squirrels are lovely animals.

They are a protected species under the Wildlife Act of 1976.

Aiden Walsh