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. In fact the grey squirrel being larger and not having many natural predators itself is a threat to the smaller built red squirrel.
Known for their cute appearance, grey in colour with a white underside, sitting upright with their big bushy tails this inquisitive animal can be seen throughout the UK in parks, gardens and in 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, like that of rats, can be heard. 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, they grey squirrel can cause much damage with their foraging, and if nuts and seeds fall from feeders then 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 particularly cold weather. They are not nocturnal and instead are most active in the middle of the day when they go foraging for food. They forage in a number of places in the woodland but are able to do so at ground level, which gives them a greater variety of foodstuffs than their red cousins.