One of Britain's oldest botanic gardens has banned the sale of peanuts in an attempt to deter grey squirrels. Bosses at Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Gardens said they were "fed up" with the havoc wreaked by the squirrels to some of its 15,000 plants. The move was also made amid fears the snacks could be picked up and eaten by children with allergies. Management said the public would still be allowed to bring in their own peanuts for the squirrels. Alan Bennell, the garden's deputy director of public programmes, said: "What we have here is wonderfully skilled horticulturists attempting to nurture one of the most exquisitely tailored botanic gardens in the world. "Then along comes the greedy American grey squirrel with its funny foreign habits, namely, it likes eating peanuts, and creates substantial damage to plants. "This nasty, aggressive foreign rodent has also ousted our beautiful native red squirrel from the gardens, not to mention throughout much of Britain."
PLEASE NOTE: IT IS NOT UNCOMMON FOR RED SQUIRRELS TO HAVE GREY FUR, AND FOR GREYS TO BE RED. ALWAYS CHECK FOR OTHER CHARACTERISTIC FEATURES WHEN IDENTIFYING.On the other hand:
Scotland has at least 75% of the UK's red squirrel population i.e. 121,000 animals. It remains a widespread and locally common species in the wooded parts of the country. Dumfries and Galloway is a stronghold, while stable populations are believed to exists in Perthshire, parts of the central belt, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Fife, the Borders and, of course, in Ayrshire. The core populations are in the Highlands, the Caledonian forest and Dumfries and Galloway.So Scotland has an above average proportion of reds. Where have I heard that before?
With the festival about to start it's not really the time of year for Edinburgh officials to be loud mouthing American visitors even if they do have "funny foreign habits". Besides, shouldn't Scotland's reds become more entrepreneurial and grab more of the nuts for themselves?