Thursday 18 August 2022

Long tailbacks as squirrels finally get their claws into €150k bridge


Nine years after The Hague city council spent €150,000 on a bridge to allow squirrels to cross a busy main road, it seems the bushy-tailed rodents have finally learned the ropes.

The bridge was designed to give them a safe route across the N44 at Benoordenhoutseweg, which borders the Clingendael woodland estate.

In the first two years just five squirrels were filmed using the crossing, but by last year the trickle had become a steady stream, with a record 263 crossings recorded.

The bridge has also been a boon for pine martens, which were spotted on the bridge 170 times last year. Pine martens mostly use the crossing in summer while squirrels favour it in autumn when they hoard nuts for the winter.

The two creatures are rarely seen using the crossing at the same time, as the relatively rare pine marten is a natural predator of the squirrel.

Urban ecologist Esther Vogelaar told Omroep West: ‘Sometimes it takes a while. Animals need to get used to new situations while we humans prefer to see results yesterday. It took several years for the animals to really use the bridge, but now we can declare it a big success.’

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