Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)

Grey Squirrel © Darin Smith

About

One of the most common species in the British Isles, the grey squirrel can be seen throughout the county in woodland and in gardens. The grey squirrel builds untidy looking nests called ‘dreys’ which are made up of moss and dried grass.

The grey squirrel is not a native species to the UK, being introduced in the 19th century in Cheshire. Since then, the grey squirrel has expanded in territory to cover most of England and Wales with the exception of the Isle of Wight and Anglesey.
Grey squirrels have mostly displaced the native red squirrel in these areas due to their larger size, and the ability to gain access to nuts more easily. Grey squirrels are also carriers of squirrel pox which has caused a decline in the red squirrel's numbers.  


Diet

Grey squirrels are omnivorous, meaning they eat things such as bird’s eggs when nuts are not available. Grey squirrels also bury their food in underground caches although sometimes they forget about nuts allowing them to grow into new trees.


How to identify/track?

As shown above, the grey squirrel is generally grey in colour although it can have a brown coat in patches. It is around 30cm in length with its tail being around the same length.


Did you know?

  • They have 2 sets of young every year with litters of between 2 to 6 young.

Reserves where they are present

Found throughout Wiltshire


Others in the Mammal Family

American MinkBadgerBank VoleBrown HareHazel DormouseHedgehogHouse MouseOtterRabbitRed FoxWeaselWild Boar


Print out a copy of the Grey Squirrel factsheet