Grey Squirrel

Grey Squirrel

The American Grey Squirrel, or Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus Carolinensis)   tree squirrel that is most known for replacing the populations of red squirrels in places such as the UK. The grey squirrel is now the most common tree squirrel in Britain.

This squirrel has remarkable adaptation skills and can live in a variety of environments. It’s competition with red squirrels and other squirrel species has meant that the grey squirrel has been replacing lots of other populations. This is because many tree squirrels share the same ecological niche and the grey squirrel is bigger and stronger than other species and so can fend a bigger territory.

The Eastern Gray squirrel carries Parapoxvirus, which is a deadly virus to red squirrels, but does not effect the grey. This is another reason for the displacement of the red squirrels. Similarly to the displacement of the red squirrels in Britain, scientists are worried that the grey squirrel will ‘take over’ native squirrel species to Italy and other places in the centre of Europe.

Grey squirrels, hence the name, are nearly always grey, however some have reddish tint to their fur, which often gets them mixed up with red squirrels. Grey squirrels tend to have a white underside. Black and white forms of grey squirrels have also been found, most often in suburban areas. Similarly individuals have also been recorded that have white bodies and a black tail or a black body and a white tail.

The average body length for a grey squirrel is around 27cm with the tail generally giving an extra 22cm.

Grey squirrels are very prolific breeders. In the UK the grey squirrel is classed as a pest. However, in 2008 there were fears that the grey squirrel would be replaced when a black species of squirrel was spreading throughout the south of Britain. Since these fears have disappeared as the black squirrels have now become a rare sight.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 states that is a grey squirrel becomes trapped, it is illegal to release the grey squirrel into the wild or allow it to escape. Instead you have to humanely destroy it.

Like lots of other squirrels, greys will gather food up and store it in caches; some of which are only temporary. The diet of a grey squirrel is mainly seeds and nuts. If food is scarce grey squirrels will eat insects, small frogs and sometimes even other squirrels.

Squirrels are of course brilliant at climbing. In fact squirrels are one of the few mammal species that can climb down a tree head-first.

June 3, 2010 · Maddia (Admin) · 6 Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Tree Squirrel Species

6 Responses

  1. Sally Jenkins - June 4, 2010

    Valuable info. Lucky me I found your site by accident, I bookmarked it.

  2. katy - June 12, 2010

    good squirrel pic!

  3. Suzy-Sue - June 13, 2010

    I like it too!

  4. Nadine - June 21, 2010

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  5. Kanikah - July 17, 2010

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

  6. alfonzo de flynnian - December 15, 2011

    not really what i was lookin for but good info though