EFFORTS to encourage red squirrels to the woods of south Cumbria are continuing.

And in Red Squirrel Awareness week, when the public are being asked to be on the lookout for squirrels, red or grey, a local group has made it its mission to educate people on their differences.

Jackie Foot, co-ordinator of the South Lakes Red Squirrel Group, said: “In the North of England either species can be anything from almost white to almost black, varying according to seasonal changes, age and genetics.

“The main difference between adult reds and greys is size: a red is small, agile and dainty. Grey squirrels, in comparison, look big and chunky.

“Red squirrels have ear tufts in the winter but they usually moult out and loose them in the summer.

"Grey squirrels never have ear tufts.

“One very clear distinguishing feature of a grey is that every hair on the tail is tipped with white, giving a ‘halo’ effect.

“Unfortunately, the invasive grey squirrels have displaced most of the reds in England except in a few places such as Cumbria and Northumberland where volunteers have culled grey squirrels over the last thirty years to enable the reds to survive.

"It has now been realised how much economic and environmental damage grey squirrels are also causing.”