One of our most familiar mammals, Grey Squirrels can be found in woods, gardens and parks, often proving to be very tame. They are frequent visitors to gardens with bird tables and feeders, becoming a pest for many bird-lovers. Grey Squirrels 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.
Easily distinguished from the Red Squirrel by its larger size, grey fur and ears without tufts.
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
Jan – Dec
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!