Red squirrel in the Highlands of Scotland
© Scotland: The Big Picture/Minden Picture
The tale of squirrels like Nutkin
If this picture looks right out of Beatrix Potter's world, we'd say you have a good eye for a story. In 1903, Potter published 'The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin,' about a cheeky squirrel who taunts an owl with silly riddles until he pushes things too far—narrowly escaping with his life, minus a tail. Potter based Nutkin on the red squirrel, the only native squirrel species in the UK. The red squirrel population saw a steep decline here after humans introduced the larger nonnative Eastern gray squirrel in the late 1800s. But today in the UK, the red squirrel is a protected species, bolstering efforts to keep the gray numbers in check and preserve habitat. Estimates put the red squirrel population in the UK at fewer than 140,000, with the vast majority living in the woods of Scotland, like our little friend here.
Join us in going nutty for the red squirrel—and squirrels everywhere—for today is Squirrel Appreciation Day.