My day at Wallington Hall was completed by a visit to their Wildlife hide where I got my first close up view of our native red squirrel. The red Squirrel was once very common in England but after the introduction of the American grey squirrel, our red squirrels are facing extinction..
The grey squirrel was first introduced to Britain in 1876 (in England). Grey squirrels have been shown to be carrying specific antibodies to the squirrel pox virus. The virus causes a pustular dermatitis in red squirrels that has the appearance of myxamatosis in rabbits. All infected red squirrels succumb to the disease within 15 days. Grey squirrels can carry the virus with no detectable symptoms, and therefore live to spread it more widely.