By far the most common tree squirrel in Europe, and perhaps the most widespread species of squirrel anywhere in the world, is the red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), sometimes called the "Eurasian red squirrel" to distinguish it from the North American animal of the same name. This lives almost everywhere in Europe, apart from the Mediterranean islands, southern Greece, and Portugal, and is one of a relatively small number of native wild mammals in Ireland. Further east, they inhabit just about every temperate, forested, region of Asia, reaching as far as Korea, northern Japan, and the coast of the Bering Sea.
About twenty different subspecies are currently recognised, but there seem to be few reliable ways of distinguishing between them. For instance, while most red squirrels are, in fact, red, a significant proportion are darker, or even near-black. These are apparently more common in the dense highland forests of the Alps and the Altai Mountains, but are not a reliable indicator of subspecies, since they are found in other populations, too.