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Key features

As its name implies, this species has a grey back and tail. The flanks are sometimes reddish.

They have small ear tufts, which are often unnoticed.

The tail is 19-25 cm long.

It has a weight of 450-650 g.


The grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) was introduced from USA to approximately 30 sites in England and Wales between 1876 and 1929. It is common throughout England and Wales, south of Cumbria and locally in Scotland.

The red squirrels’ disappearance apparently coincide the the grey squirrels’ arrival, although this is not always the case (e.g. Thetford forest in Norfolk ). Red squirrel disappearances typically follow grey squirrel arrival, although loss of hazels and mature conifers, or disease, sometimes eliminates reds in advance.


It has three or four litters per year, each litter a size of, on average, three. The range can however be one to eight.

They reach maturity in 10 to 12 months and the average life span is two years.


Grey squirrels can be part omnivore.

Vegetation eaten by the grey squirrel includes acorns, beech mast, tree shoots, flowers, nuts; also fruits, roots and cereals. It also strips bark and eats sappy tissue beneath.

Occasionally it feeds on insects and birds eggs. It eats 40-80 g per day, and caches surplus nuts, mast and cones in scattered sites 2-5 cm below soil or in tree hollows.

Reasons for control

The grey squirrel is a serious pest of plantations, where it causes serious damage by stripping bark from tree trunks during months of May, June and July. A number of deciduous tree species of various ages may be attacked; pole-stage beech and sycamore are most often severely damaged.

It causes problems to market gardeners and damages parks and gardens where cereals, vegetables and fruit can be taken.

In urban areas, squirrels can gain access to roof spaces via building defects and cause damage to roof timbers, electrical wiring and plumbing.


Please Call East Lancashire Pest Control on 0800 023 6116 for a free visit and quote.

North American Grey squirrel