Red Squirrel

Sciurus vulgarisSquirrels are not evenly distributed in the region. It is common and abundant in the north: Gdov, Plyussa, Strugi Krasniye, and Pskov districts, where coniferous and mixed forests take up to 30-60% of the area. In the under-forested center of the region, the numbers of squirrel population are low, but they do grow again farther south, in the coniferous and mixed forests of the southern districts of Sebezh, Bezhanitsy, Kunya, Nevel’ etc.

Squirrels are more common in darker coniferous tall forest tracts with thick undergrowth. They build nests (drays), and sometimes settle in hollows. Their forage mainly consists of coniferous seeds (fir and pine), although they do eat hazelnuts, acorns, mushrooms, berries, and forest insects – however these types of food are secondary or seasonal. In lack of fodder, squirrels eat fir buds and shoots. Our forests yield fir seeds in abundance every 4-6 years. Thus, in years of high yields, the numbers of squirrels rise. The red squirrel is a precious fur game, and its hunting is legitimately regulated. In 1961, the total hide procurement comprised 45.4 thousand, and in the recent five years – 3.0 thousand hides per year.

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