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November 13, 2018 07:00 PM

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.

Prince Charles in a new stamp released for his 70th birthday.
Royal Mail

“His passion for the environment and the natural world is something I want to repeat in the way I raise George, Charlotte and Louis,” William tells the magazine.

Prince Charles and a young Prince Harry.
Google Arts & Culture

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.

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