Prince Charles loves red squirrels so much that he gives them names — and keeps nuts in his jacket pockets for them.
Prince William, 36, reveals the quirks about his dad in a new interview with the U.K. magazine Country Life that Charles guest-edited to mark his 70th birthday on November 14. Charles backs efforts to help the rare squirrel — whose numbers have fallen from 3.5 million to 250,000 in his lifetime — in the U.K.
“He is completely infatuated by the red squirrels that live around the [Birkhall] estate in Scotland — to the extent that he’s given them names and is allowing them into the house!” William tells the magazine in the special issue.
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In another article on the animals, Charles notes, “They come into the house at Birkhall and we get them chasing each other round and round inside. If I sit there quietly, they will do so around me. Sometimes, when I leave my jackets on a chair with nuts in the pockets, I see them with their tails sticking out, as they hunt for nuts — they are incredibly special creatures.”
William also praises his father’s lead in encouraging a love for the nature and the outdoors.
William adds that some of his earliest memories are from the Balmoral estate in the Highlands of Scotland, “where my father taught me about the natural world around us — from the burns to the trees to the hills. He was also there when I went on my first trip to Africa and helped me learn about the global environment.”
William is President of United for Wildlife, an umbrella grouping of like-minded organizations protecting wildlife and fighting to combat the illegal trade in animal parts.