TAUNTON-based builders Summerfield Homes, developers of the new 250-home Liddymore Park, Watchet, have welcomed their latest happy customers - a pair of squirrels.

The housebuilder has donated £500 to Tropiquaria Zoo, Washsford, to upgrade the habitat for their newest arrivals - a pair of strikingly coloured black, chestnut, and white Prevost’s squirrels, now settling into their refurbished enclosure at the wildlife park.

The squirrel siblings were donated by Chester Zoo and Tropiquaria hopes to acquire another unrelated squirrel to enter a breeding programme and allow them to add to the group. The zoo is a popular tourist destination, with a large collection of animals, rare fish, and reptiles. It is also widely recognised for its conservation work.

Prevost’s squirrels, named after a 19th century French naturalist, were originally discovered in the forests of Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo and are now established in European zoos. They are some of the world’s most colourful mammals.

Philip Morgan, divisional director, sales and marketing for Summerfield Homes, has visited Tropiquaria to see how the squirrels were adapting to their new home.

He said: “We recognise that the zoo is an important part of the Watchet community and attracts visitors from all across the country throughout the year, and its continued efforts to preserve endangered species through their conservation projects must be acknowledged.”

Jake Tyler, Tropiquaria’s head keeper, said: “We are grateful to Summerfield Homes for funding the new home for the Prevost’s squirrels which are already proving popular with our visitors.

“The cost of housing, heating and feeding all the animals is ever increasing and we have been badly hit in recent years by the effect of Covid on visitor numbers so greatly appreciate help from businesses like Summerfield Homes.”

A Summerfied Homes spokesperson said: “If you’d like to support Tropiquaria zoo you can do so by visiting the wildlife park or by making a one-off donation via their website. If you are a business interested in sponsorship options to help them continue to care for their animals within the facility then we encourage you to get in touch with Jake Tyler via [email protected].”