This is the incredible moment a squirrel apparently shakes hands with a walker – after he coaxed it to take a hazelnut from his hand.
Bushcraft expert Steve England, 35, waited motionless for 15 minutes in Stoke Park, Bristol, as the grey squirrel slowly moved towards him.
He then lay perfectly still as the animal gathered enough courage to reach out and pluck the hazelnut from his forefinger and thumb.
Father-of-three Steve, who works as a RHS horticulturalist and lives in Lockleaze, Bristol, was stunned because wild squirrels are usually highly secretive animals.
He said: ”I had never tried it before but we were going through the woods and I was laid down on a log taking pictures of some fungus when this squirrel came up close.
”So I managed to get a hazelnut out of my pocket and after about 15 minutes it came closer and closer and then grabbed the hazelnut and ran.
”Squirrels are very secretive animals so I wasn’t surprised that it disappeared in a few seconds after taking the nut. To start with it couldn’t decide if I was a friend or a foe.
”The goal of my life is to encourage more people to enjoy the treasures of the outdoors and Stoke Park really is an incredible place.”
The picture was taken by NHS community health worker Alex Wood, 26, who was among six people on the organised Active Bristol green walk on Sunday.
She said: ”We were on the walk and Steve was taking pictures of some fungus when he spotted a wild squirrel and said ‘watch this’.
”The squirrel took a lot of time to build up enough courage to snatch the nut. It was an incredible moment.”