Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. In nature, it really is survival of the fittest. Photos of a red squirrel and woodpecker have gone viral after they showed the two animals fighting each other for nuts. Karen Crawford took the pictures in a forest near Johnsfield, a settlement near Lockerbie in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, British news agency South West News Service reports.
Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Maybe this miniature mammal is the next Mozart. A wildlife photographer in Scotland has captured remarkable images showing a red squirrel reaching out for hazelnuts encased in a miniature grand piano, British news agency SWNS reports. Jeffrey Wang, who works as a music teacher, took the images at Carnie Woods, outside Aberdeen.
Red squirrels in the UK are being put at risk by non-native conifer trees that have been planted with the aim of protecting the threatened species. This is the warning of a team of Queen's University Belfast-led researchers, who studied squirrel populations at 700 different sites across Northern Ireland. In the UK, red squirrel populations are often confined to coniferous woodlands -- as their invasive rival, the grey squirrel, struggles to gain a foothold in such habitats. This is because the greys prefer trees like oaks that provide larger, more calorific seeds to eat, whereas red squirrels are fine feeding on the smaller seeds of conifers. The problem with providing red squirrels more coniferous habitats to call home, the team found, is that such fails to take into account the resurgence of the pine marten.
A sighting of a red squirrel is now so rare, many children believe they are fictional. More than half of this age group have never seen one, while almost one in five below the age of eight think Britain's native squirrels exist only in story books, television programmes and films. A quarter of adults also admit they have never laid eyes on a red squirrel, following the spread of the invasive grey variety. There are believed to be just 30,000 red squirrels remaining in England, mainly in northern counties including Cumbria, Yorkshire and Northumberland. There are 120,000 in Scotland and around 1,500 in Wales, including a thriving population on Anglesey.
Red squirrels are being saved from extinction by a weasel-like predator that is hunting non-native grey squirrels. Pine marten numbers are rising in Scotland and the mammals are culling grey squirrels, which carry a virus that is harmless to them but is deadly to red squirrels. It is hoped that introducing pine martens across other parts of the UK can further increase numbers of red squirrels. Numbers of red squirrels are being saved from potential extinction as pine martens (pictured) are hunting the non-native grey squirrels. An international team of scientists looked at how the recent increase in the number of pine marten numbers has affected both squirrel species in parts of Scotland.