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Grey Squirrels

The Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is classed as a pest in the UK. Usually they live outdoors and build their nests from twigs, moss and leaves but sometimes enter
properties and build nests in lofts and roof voids. They can cause serious damage to property, as rodents they need to gnaw and can strip electrical wiring with ease, they can strip insulation materials to use to make a nest (drey).
 
 
 
The Grey Squirrel is about 24-26 cm long with a further 19-24cm tail, and they can weigh up to 650g. They are mainly grey with some brown on the upper back with chestnut coloured limbs and feet. Their bellies are white and their tails a mixture of brown, black and grey with a white fringe. Unlike Red Squirrels, Grey Squirrels do not have tufts on their ears.

Their diet consists of a variety of foods including nuts, berries and fruit together with flowers and shoots. They will eat insects and have been known to eat baby birds and eggs.

During winter they become less active but do not hibernate, they will have stored nuts in the ground during autumn and will find these stores by using the scent.
 
Most Grey Squirrels have 2 litters of young a year, they carry the young for 44 days and can produce 3-7 babies per litter. The babies are known as kittens and are ready to leave the nest after about 7 weeks. Grey squirrels can live for up to about 7 years.
 

The Grey Squirrel causes problems for the Red Squirrel as it is bigger and stronger and can also carry and transmit the Squirrel pox virus, which is deadly to the Red Squirrel but does not appear the affect the Grey Squirrel.
 
 
There is very strict legislation governing the trapping and culling of Grey Squirrels. There are only a small number of traps licensed to be used with Grey Squirrels and even stricter rules regarding poisoning.

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