Red Squirrel Post Mortem Protocol
If you find a dead red squirrel it may be possible for it to be sent for post mortem, in order to further our knowledge on the conservation, welfare and diseases of red squirrels. Please ensure that you wear disposable gloves when handling dead squirrels.
All dead red squirrels found in Scotland should be sent to:
Prof Anna Meredith
Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
University of Edinburgh
Easter Bush Veterinary Centre
0131 650 7650
Squirrels found in England may be sent to one of the addresses below.
If a dead red squirrel is found and the cause of death is unknown please send the squirrel to:
If the cause of death is known, e.g. road traffic accident or killed by a pet, please send the dead red squirrel to:
Dr Tony Sainsbury
Institute of Zoology
Zoological Society of London
Please download and complete the post mortem submission form and enclose with the package.
It is imperative that red squirrels sent for post mortem are appropriately packaged. We do not wish to upset the Post Office with leaking packages.
If it is not possible to post the red squirrel the same day that it is found, carcasses should be stored refrigerated but only if you have the appropriate facilities, (e.g. at a wildlife centre, veterinary surgery). DO NOT use domestic fridges – carcasses may carry dangerous infectious agents. Carcasses may be frozen if absolutely necessary.
Any direct contact with the dead squirrel should be avoided, i.e. place your hand within a plastic bag, pick up the carcass with covered hand and invert the bag over the carcass and tie the bag securely. Use a separate bag for each carcass.
The secured bag must then be wrapped in absorbent material e.g. kitchen roll, which then must be placed in another two sealed plastic bags.
The package should then be placed within a crush proof container, such as a margarine tub (this does not have to be done separately for each squirrel, as long as each specimen is properly bagged), then with an accompanying note (name, address and telephone number of sender; date, time & location found; storage conditions; suspected cause of death), packaged within a jiffy post-bag, or a substantial brown paper parcel.
The senders name and address should be written clearly on the back of the package and the package MUST be labeled:
PATHOLOGICAL SPECIMEN - FRAGILE - HANDLE WITH CARE
Packages must be sent either by guaranteed next day delivery or first class post. Please do not send packages on a Thursday or Friday, as the laboratory may be closed at the weekend.
Although you will have used an inverted plastic bag or disposable gloves, please remember to wash your hands after dealing with the dead red squirrel and disinfect any surfaces used.
Please inform your local Red Squirrel Conservation Officer if you are sending a red squirrel for post-mortem so that they can notify the lab.