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THE GREY SQUIRREL

Probably no other garden visitor splits opinion quite like the Grey Squirrel , Sciurus carolinensis . For some the non native grey squirrel is no more than vermin, a destructive pest and unwanted garden visitor. Its blamed with some justification for the demise of our own much smaller native Red Squirrel  but the grey squirrels introduction isn’t the full story in it’s red cousins demise. BBC presenter Chris Packham once called the grey squirrel Britain’s “most unpopular non-native invader” and for some the grey squirrel is simply a rather unflattering tree rat.  However for many people in the U.K. , myself included the grey squirrel is a charming welcome garden visitor. It may be invasive but in my personal opinion, I don’t think it deserves all the bad press it attracts. Intelligent and good at problem solving the “grey” is probably our best known garden and parks wild mammal.

Agile and fast across open ground , this species comes alive in it’s true home , up in the trees. The ability to run both up and down tree trunks, grey squirrels have double-jointed ankles, allowing their feet to face both forwards and backwards – a perfect adaption for tree climbing where it can also jump up to three metres from branch to branch makes the grey  a firm acrobatic favourite. Easy to recognise with it’s long busy tail, short muzzle and rounded ears the grey is both bigger and heavier that it’s native Red cousin . The grey squirrel is diurnal which basically means they are much more active during daylight with peak activity during early morning and late afternoon. Active all year they don’t hibernate , but do become less active during the colder winter months.

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