Red squirrel kits in need

The three young red squirrels were rescued by the Scottish SPCA.

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The three kits have been named Frodo, Smeagle and Pippin © Scottish SPCA

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The helpless baby squirrels were blown out of a nest and discovered in Killiecrankie, Perthshire, by a member of the public who managed to contain them and keep them overnight, and called the animal welfare charity in the morning. 

They have been named after characters from Lord of the Rings, and are now being hand-reared at the charity’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross. They are the first red squirrels of the season rescued by the charity.

“Frodo, Smeagle and Pippin are now being hand reared by Sheelagh McAllister, our head of small mammals,” says centre manager Colin Seddon.

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The kits are now being hand-reared at the National Wildlife Rescue Centre © Scottish SPCA

Although they are are being hand-reared, other human contact will be kept to an absolute mimimum.

The three red squirrels will remain at the centre until they are independent and can be rehabilitated for release, which will involve moving to a large indoor enclosure once fully weaned followed an outdoor enclosure when they are strong enough. 

“It’s good that they have come in together as this will help their development before their return to the wild, at a supported release site,” says Seddon.

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The kits will be rehabiliated and released into the wild © Scottish SPCA

The charity advises people to take care when cutting down trees and trimming hedges, and to check for nests first. 

Red squirrels are a native species in the British Isles, but have been wiped out in many locations, partially due to disease transmission from the introduced grey squirrels which carry a pox virus. 

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Read more wildlife news stories in BBC Wildlife Magazine