Not such a ginger nut: Red squirrel goes blonde... and no one knows why


Blondes do have more fun! Punky the red squirrel shows off his bright blonde tufts

With his bright blonde mohawk, this red squirrel is certainly no shrinking violet.
Punky the squirrel has become a popular attraction for tourists hoping to spot his unusual hairstyle.
The cheeky rodent, named Punky, was spotted raiding a feeder in a forest near Killhope, County Durham and stands out from the crowd with blonde spiky tufts sprouting from both ears.

Tourists prefer blondes: Punky has become a hit in the County Durham park with his streaks of luminous blonde

Punky, whose 'hairstyle' bears a resemblance to Prodigy frontman Keith Flint's, is a favourite in the woodland around Killhope Lead Mining Museum after being spotted by members of staff and visitors.
Tina Raynor, Commerical Services Officer at Killhope Museum, said she believed Punky may have been visiting the forest for up to five years but is believed to have had a drastic image change in recent months.

What on earth? A surprised-looking young red squirrel admires Punky's glossy mane

She said: 'We get regular sightings of the squirrels. They are a real draw for people to the museum..
'Punky wasn't always punk - we think he is around five years old.
'I've found some pictures from a few years ago which we think are of him, when his tufts weren't noticeably blonde
'In his pre-punk days, he was probably listening to ELO and Queen!
'But he seems to be starting his punk look now, he's a cute little thing.

Where's the hair dye? The young red squirrel looks deep in thought as Punky laps up the attention

'We have a feeding programme for the red squirrels and we do worry greys may penetrate the colony, but we're keeping a close eye on the situation with a monitoring programme.'
The red squirrel population at Killhope are the last unmixed colony in County Durham, as much of reds are being driven out by grey squirrels.
The red squirrel is native to Britain, but its future is increasingly uncertain as the introduced American grey squirrel expands its range across the mainland.

We've seen that look before: Punky looks like he has copied Keith Flint's famous hair style

There are estimated to be only 140,000 red squirrels left in Britain, with over 2.5 million greys.
The Forestry Commission is working with partners in projects across Britain to develop a long-term conservation strategy that deters greys and encourages reds.

source: dailymail