One of our most familiar mammals, the grey squirrel can be found in woods, gardens and parks, often proving to be very tame. A grey squirrel can be easily distinguished from a red squirrel by its larger size, grey fur and ears without tufts.
Grey squirrels are frequent visitors to gardens with bird tables and feeders, becoming a pest for many bird-lovers. They feast on hazelnuts by cracking the shell in half. You may also find pine cones that have been nibbled, leaving what looks like an apple core behind. Squirrels make a rough nest, called a ‘drey’, of twigs, leaves and strips of bark in the fork of a branch, high in the tree canopy.
- Length: 30cm plus a tail of 20cm
- Weight: 600g
- Average lifespan: 3 years
Invasive, non-native species.
England and Wales, absent from much of Scotland.
When to see
January – December
- Grey squirrels are renowned for their agility, adept climbing and cunning – they can crack open birdfeeders and run along tight-rope washing lines to get at their nutty prize. Gardeners should look out for squirrel-proof feeders and add a little chilli to their bird food – the birds don’t mind, but squirrels don’t like the burning sensation!