Squirrel

Belfast Zoo Celebrates Five Kits in Red Squirrel Nook

1_(4)  Photo credit - Jon Lees    Belfast Zoo born red squirrels have been released to protected areas as a ground-breaking conservation effort.

Belfast Zoo is celebrating another conservation success with the birth of five Red Squirrel kittens.

The kits were spotted outside of their drey (squirrel nest) for the first time at the start of July and can now be spotted in the zoo’s Red Squirrel Nook.

2_(6) The kittens stay in the drey (nest) for the first few months and are starting to explore their surroundings.

3_(1)  Photo credit - Jon Lees    Belfast Zoo is celebrating another conservation success with the birth of five red squirrel kittens.

4_(2)  Photo credit - Jon Lees     The kits were spotted outside of their drey for the first time at the start of July and can now be spotted in red squirrel nookPhoto Credits: Images 1,3-5: Jon Lees (Northern Ireland Environment Agency) / Images 2,6: Belfast Zoo

The Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is a small, tree-living rodent, which is believed to have been present in Ireland for more than 10,000 years. Many people are familiar with this iconic native species, its bright red coat, creamy white belly, bushy tail and distinctive ear tufts. However, the Red Squirrel in Northern Ireland is in serious trouble. The population has dramatically declined due to the loss of their forest habitats in addition to competition from the invasive Grey Squirrel that carries a lethal pox virus.

Zoo Manager, Alyn Cairns, explained, “Here at Belfast Zoo, we care for some of the most endangered species from around the globe but the problem is closer to home than most people think! Animals on our own doorstep are facing increasing threats and populations are disappearing at an alarming rate. Recognizing this alarming trend, the Belfast Zoo team formed a native species group in 2004 to work on a number of native species projects. In 2012, following the culmination of many years of work and consultation with local wildlife organizations, we opened Red Squirrel Nook.”

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Trio of Prevost’s Squirrels Emerge at Chester Zoo

1_Prevost's squirrel triplets born in ‘Chester Zoo first’ (25)

A lively trio of Prevost’s Squirrels has emerged from their nest at Chester Zoo. It is the first time the colorful climbers, which are native to the forests of South East Asia, have been born at the U.K. zoo.

The three youngsters arrived to mum André and dad Pierre following a 48-day gestation. Dave White, team manager, reported last week, “The new triplets are 11 weeks old but have only recently started to leave their nest. Prevost’s squirrel parents are very protective of their new kittens and will carefully guard them for the first month of their lives before encouraging them to start venturing out.

“The youngsters have already developed striking, colorful coats and are gaining more and more confidence by the day. They’re the first Prevost’s Squirrels to ever be born here and it’s great to see them doing well, climbing and leaping between branches under the watchful eyes of mum and dad.”

2_Prevost's squirrel triplets born in ‘Chester Zoo first’ (32)

3_Prevost's squirrel triplets born in ‘Chester Zoo first’ (30)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo 

Prevost’s Squirrels (Callosciurus prevostii), which are also known as the Asian Tri-colored Squirrel, have thick fur, which is black from the nose to tail and red on the belly and legs, separated by a white stripe.

They occur across the mainland and islands of South East Asia, with the squirrels from each area having subtly different markings. More research may even show that these represent many different isolated species.

The squirrels are vital to the survival of the forests in which they live, redistributing seeds from the fruit that they eat, giving rise to new generations of plants.

4_Prevost's squirrel triplets born in ‘Chester Zoo first’ (11)


Five Baby Red Squirrels Come out to Play at Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven

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Germany's Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven announced the arrival of its first Siberian Red Squirrel offspring. The five healthy youngsters were born seven weeks ago and are now old enough to begin exploring their habitat. This Siberian subspecies (Sciurus vulgaris exalbidus) is rarely kept in European zoos, so getting a chance to see these rambunctious and playful little red babies is a treat for zoo visitors.

Red Squirrels of all kinds are found across most of Europe, into northern Asia and Siberia. In the last 60 years, there has been a dramatic decline of the native Red Squirrel due to loss of habitat, disease, and, in particular, competition from its larger cousin, the American Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). The Grey Squirrel debarks mature native trees, which results in the trees dying. They can also eat and digest the fruit and flowering parts of plants while they are still green in the spring, whereas the Red Squirrel cannot, thus going hungry in the late summer and autumn with no stock left on the trees or plants to ripen. Also, the Grey Squirrel carries the Squirrel Pox Virus without being affected by it, but the virus can be passed onto Red Squirrels with devastating results. So these zoo-born babies are very important to preserving the species.

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Photo Credit: Joachim Schoene / Archive Zoo am Meer

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Prevost Squirrel Babies At The Houston Zoo

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The Houston Zoo’s new breeding pair of Prevost squirrels, Walnut and Mali, hit the ground running and produced its first litter on June 25th, fifty-one days after being introduced. The two male pups, Ranger and Danger, are thriving under the excellent care of their first-time mother. 

Native to the forests of Southeast Asia, the colorful Prevost’s squirrel has a gestation period of forty days. Mali choose to give birth in an off-exhibit area in a wooden nest box. Prevost’s squirrel mothers will carefully guard the nestbox, but due to Mali’s excellent training and her relationship with the keepers, staff had no trouble getting her to go into a travel crate for a few minutes, allowing for the pups to be checked. Keepers were able to obtain the weights of the pups and note milestones. The pups started to open their eyes at 16 days and began venturing out of the nestbox at about one month of age.

Ranger and Danger are not on exhibit yet, but may be exploring the habitat soon. As the youngsters grow up, zoo keepers hope that Walnut and Mali will continue to contribute to the zoo population of this beautiful, lively species.

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Photo Credit:Houston Zoo


Squirrelly Pups Pop-up at Zoo Basel

African Ground Squirrel pup nibbling at Zoo Basel

Born October 18 at Switzerland's Zoo Basel, three baby African Ground Squirrels are already living up to their squirrelly reputation as keepers struggle to prepare them for transport to their new home at the Frankfurt Zoo. Together with their parents, they have built an elaborate series of underground tunnels beneath their enclosure. When they are alarmed, they quickly dart back into their tunnels making it impossible for keepers to reach them. 

While the sex of the squirrel pups has yet to be determined, they all appear happy and healthy. One of the pups is smaller and shyer than the rest, but keepers have made a special effort to feed him or her individually, and the frenetic critter is doing just fine.

The three Ground Squirrel pups set out looking for adventure

African Ground Squirrel pups rough-housing at Zoo Basel

Supper time with the African Ground Squirrel family

More photos below the fold!

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"Wild" Animal Encounters

Spotted:  Interspecies conoodling at the San Francisco Zoo...

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Photographer Susan Pettitt caught these kangaroos coming nose to nose with a wild squirrel just the other day at the San Francisco Zoo...

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Meanwhile, at the Artis Zoo, A.J. Haverkamp comes through again with some heart warming photos of Dayo the gorilla baby coming face to face with a meerkat and her own baby...

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Momma meerkat valiantly protects her babe, but we suspect Dayo is "meer"ly curious...

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