How to identify a roadkilled red squirrel?
You can see the bushy tail of the squirrel very good even if the carcass is badly destroyed. The characteristic coat colors (light red / brown to brown black, the undersideis always clear white or cream) are also a good feature which is largely maintained. The typical ear-tufts can also serve to identify, but are only part of the winter fur and are completely absent during the summer months.
The likelihood of confounding squirrels with dormice (fat dormouse, hazel dormouse) is given. Although dormice, however, are much smaller and have less bushy tails.
Why are red squirrels killed on roads?
The original habitat of squirrels in our latitudes are deciduous and mixed forests. As a strong synanthropic species, they are often found in gardens and parks. Due to their proximity to people, squirrels are increasingly exposed to busy roads, which increases the vulnerability to be roadkill victims. Squirrels are agile and fast climbers, but on the ground they are just hopping, which makes them relatively slow go. The home range of squirrels varies depending of distribution and can be up to 50 ha, whereupon males usually are more active than females. Preferably, squirrels move further over treetops. On roads, there is often no treetops - treetops contact for safety reasons. Therefore, squirrels have no possibility to "bridge" the gap over a road, but have to move on the ground. Remedy could be a so-called "squirrel rope", which is stretched from tree to tree across the road.
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