The Grey Squirrel originated in North America was brought to the UK in the 19th Century by landowners. They are now widespread and more common than our native red squirrel. The grey squirrel is larger, and not having many natural predators is a threat to the smaller built red squirrel.
Known for its cute appearance, grey with a white underside, sitting upright with its big bushy tails, this inquisitive animal can be seen throughout the UK in parks, gardens and woodland areas.
However, when these squirrels enter our homes and gardens, they can become a nuisance. They make their way into our lofts, and scratching sounds can be heard like that of rats. Unfortunately, they can cause a lot of damage in our homes as they are likely to chew in wiring or pipework, so they need to be removed as soon as possible.
And in our gardens, whilst they can be amusing to watch and are fed by many householders, the grey squirrel can cause much damage with their foraging, and if nuts and seeds fall from feeders, they can cause substantial damage to the lawn below when scratching around. They are also a nuisance to trees as they are known to strip the bark. In addition to foraging for food, they also like to store their finds and will create little burrows in numerous places to do so – look out for theses in your plant beds and borders.
In the Wild
In the wild, they build their nests or ‘dreys’ in wooded areas, high up in their selected tree. The grey squirrel does not hibernate but may become less active in freezing weather. They are not nocturnal and instead are most active in the middle of the day when they go foraging for food. They feed in several places in the woodland but can do so at ground level, which gives them a greater variety of foodstuffs than their red cousins.