The food provided for red squirrels should be supplementary, and not take the place of natural food sources. Small amounts of food should be put out every 3-4 days. Hazlenuts in their shells are one of the best foods to provide, but other foods including wheat, linseed or pine nuts are also beneficial. Fruits such as apples also make a welcome addition. Peanuts and sunflower seeds can be used but are of lower nutritional value. Evidence is starting to suggest that peanuts may cause liver damage in red squirrels as they contain a substance called aflatoxin.

The red squirrel breeding season starts with mating chases in January, and a first litter of 3 to 4 babies, which are called kittens, are born in March. If a female squirrel gains sufficient food over the summer months, she will have a second litter in July/August. Like other mammals, the kittens are born blind, deaf and hairless and are totally dependent on their mother. Kittens start exploring their environment by the 7th week, and are weaned by the 10th week. They will then start to fend for themselves. Juveniles usually disperse in the autumn.

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