THE Penrith and District Red Squirrel Group has reported an outbreak of the Squirrel Pox virus in the Appleby area.

The public is urged to report sightings of sickly red squirrels as they might be infected following sightings at the Rutter Falls area. 

Squirrel Pox is a viral infection that, despite being carried by grey squirrels, can cause significant disease and is typically lethal in red squirrels.

In red squirrels, the virus results in noticeable lesions around the mouth, eyes, chin, and muzzle.

The virus only affects squirrels and there is no risk to the public's health.

A spokesperson from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said cases of the virus were detected in Cumbria and Northumberland towards the end of 2023.


In December,  Cumbria Wildlife Trust ranger found a red squirrel that had died from squirrel pox in Neaum Crag holiday park in Ambleside.

If you see a sickly red or a grey squirrel, you can report it via