According to a new study, pine martens prefer to eat grey squirrels, the red’s great rival. So much so, that populations of the greys crash, while their red cousins thrive.
Grey squirrels are fatter and slower than the nimble reds, so make a more attractive and easier meal for the martens, which are known to be opportunistic predators.
Greys, an invasive species introduced from North America in the 19th century, have squeezed out the native reds by eating their food and giving them a fatal pox. As a result, reds are now at risk of extinction, with only 121,000 left in Scotland.