Grey Squirrel in Manchester
Sciurus carolinensis has displaced the precious red squirrel to such an extent that the red squirrels have completely disappeared in large areas, and may soon be on the endangered species list. Grey squirrels are larger, quicker, and more active than the red squirrels, and can store more body fats for winter seasons. This allows them to competitively compete for the lions share of the food that is available, causing the red squirrels to starve or freeze to death. Another possibility of the red squirrels demise is parapoxvirus, a disease which is fatal to all red squirrels and is carried by the majority of grey squirrels whom remain unaffected it.
Squirrel damage caused by the grey squirrel includes the mass exploitation of nut and grain stores or the stripping of acres of farmland for grain crops. Squirrels strip the bark from trees to use as a food source and will raid birds nests to eat the eggs and young birds. Squirrels also eat small rodents, frogs and on occasions will eat other squirrels. Squirrels have caused many fires in residential properties by stripping electric cabling of their protective covers, leaving naked live wires open to the elements. Squirrels also gnaw through insulation and rip the felt from the inside of a roof allowing rainwater to penetrate the home. Squirrels are perfect hosts to fleas, ticks, and botfly larvae, causing a possible infestation of minor insects and the spread of germs and disease.