In an attempt to protect the red squirrel populations along the east coast of Scotland and the A9 corridor, Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) has unveiled plans to install more than 30 artificial pine marten dens to try and prevent grey squirrel migration in the region.
Studies show that having pine martens in the vicinity can help to keep grey squirrel numbers under control. In the north of the country, in fact, red squirrels have lived happily beside pine martens since the early 1980s – so it looks like it’s a very effective strategy indeed!
The problem now is that grey squirrels have popped up in Tayside and are moving north from Angus into Aberdeenshire. And FLS is worried that populations of grey squirrels from the central belt and Aberdeen will put the red squirrels at risk.
It’s not entirely known just how pine martens help to keep grey squirrels under control, but it’s thought in some quarters that red squirrels have increased their chances of escape by evolving to be lighter and smaller, which makes it easier for them to access smaller branches that the heavier pine martens can’t.
Environment forester at FLS Gareth Ventress said: “Grey squirrels from the central belt can bring squirrelpox with them, which is what decimates reds alongside competition for food. Grey squirrels in Aberdeenshire don’t currently carry squirrelpox.
“We plan to install artificial pine marten boxes along the grey squirrel migration route, particularly in forests like Craigvinean in Perthshire or Inglismaldie just north of the River North Esk along the A90.”
If you don’t fancy the idea of installing a resident pine marten in the attic but still want to sort out the grey squirrels in residence in your loft space, get in touch with the team here at The Exterminator Pest Control to discuss UK squirrel pest control.
Squirrels make an awful lot of noise and can cause a lot of damage, so it’s best to sort out an infestation sooner rather than later!