One of the Isle of Wight’s red squirrels. Picture by Jennifer Burton.
TWENTY per cent of Isle of Wight residents who took part in a national wildlife survey said red squirrels visited their garden every day.
No-one who took part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, in which people were asked to make a note of the wildlife in their gardens, reported any grey squirrel sightings.
For the first time in the 36-year history of the survey, this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch participants were asked to tell the RSPB about other types of wildlife in their gardens, as well as birds.
Around seven per cent of people said they regularly saw frogs and six per cent had spotted hedgehogs, whose numbers have dropped by 30 per cent nationally since the millennium.
Deer were rarely glimpsed on the Isle of Wight, with 90 per cent of people reporting they had never seen a muntjac or roe deer.
The results of the bird survey, published earlier this month, revealed the blue-tit was the most common bird in Island gardens, followed by the house sparrow and the blackbird.
According to the results, grey squirrels were the south east’s most popular wild visitor, with 82 per cent of people spotting them regularly.
RSPB conservation scientist Daniel Hayhow said: "This massive survey shows how important our gardens are for the amazing variety of wildlife living there. In a few years’ time we’ll be able to compare how the distribution of garden wildlife may have changed.
"Hopefully, the fact more people are helping to give nature a home in their gardens and outside spaces will mean we see improvements rather than declines."