Squirrel found 'nesting' on sheep in Suffolk

Squirrel and Herdwick sheep The squirrel was found in the thick fleece on one of Elizabeth Dilworth's sheep at her Suffolk home

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A baby squirrel was found "nesting" in the thick woollen fleece of a sheep in Suffolk, its owner said.

The squirrel was in the neck area of a domesticated Herdwick sheep in Capel St Mary, near Ipswich.

The sheep's owner took the squirrel kitten to the Wildlives rescue centre at Thorrington near Colchester.

Centre owner Rosie Catford said: "We've had a lot of young squirrels in, but we've never heard of anything like this."

'Something moved'

Liz Dilworth, a primary school teacher in Stratford St Mary, said she found the squirrel when she was checking the collar of her sheep Max.

"Something moved in the wool on his neck," she said.

Elizabeth Dilworth and a pony Elizabeth Dilworth said she "stepped back" when she first saw the squirrel

"I thought it was rat and stepped back, but took another look and saw it was a squirrel.

The grey squirrel

  • Grey squirrels were introduced to Europe from the US in the late 1800s and are notorious for displacing native red squirrels
  • Bigger and bolder, they out-compete the native reds for food and can digest acorns, which the reds cannot
  • Greys also carry a pox virus that does not affect them - but is deadly to reds

Source: BBC Nature

"It was a cold evening and it had obviously come out of a nest and that was the only place it could find to snuggle in and try and get warm.

"Max has got a very thick fleece and he didn't mind in the slightest."

The squirrel, a female, was believed to be about eight weeks old, which is the age the youngsters are abandoned by their mothers to fend for themselves.

Ms Catford said: "We've heard of young 'kits' running up people's trouser legs when they've been out walking, but this is a new one on us.

"This squirrel is doing well at our centre and is in with 11 others."

Wildlives said it would look after the new arrival for up to three months.

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