Our red squirrel
The European red squirrel is the only native arboreal squirrel present in Italy and most of Europe. This rodent, well known by those who love attending the woods, plays an important role in forest ecosystems.
Squirrels not only use the forest to live and eat, but also help in its renewal process. In years of high seed production, particularly for those species that squirrels like, such as hazel, beech, stone pine or Scots pine, animals store the seeds collected. Many of the hidden seeds will be recovered by squirrels in winter and spring, but some will be forgotten. The seeds left in the ground will have the chance to germinate and give rise to new plants.
Perhaps not everyone knows that the red squirrel eats many mushrooms too, including those underground, such as truffles and similar species. By dispersing the spores of fungi, the squirrel helps their growth. This action is very important because fungi are essential for the growth of many plants. Squirrels, mushrooms, and trees are then linked by very complex mutual relations, of an ecological kind, which altogether ensure the presence of the squirrel, and also of the plants and fungi.
If you want to know more about the red squirrel and understand the vital role it plays in forest ecosystems, navigate through the pages of this section!