Disease Monitoring

Diseases and causes of mortality in red squirrels

dead-Pentraeth-male-march-0An adult red squirrel might expect to live for four to five years in the wild. Occasionally animals can be found that are six or seven years of age, but these individuals are exceptional.

Red squirrels fall prey to a variety of predators including foxes, stoats, buzzards, goshawks and domestic cats.

Road traffic is an ever present danger for populations in rural and suburban parts of Anglesey. Less frequently animals have been found drowned in water troughs during the summer months.

Starvation, malnutrition, cancerous growths, and heavy loads of ectoparasites and endoparasites can be associated with deaths. Viral screening has allowed the Anglesey project to look at the significance of pathogenic infections. We routinely screen for rotavirus, adenovirus and Squirrelpox virus and have found that adenovirus is a significant problem on the island.