The grey squirrel lives throughout mainland England and Wales although it is still absent from much of Scotland. They live in woodland areas, in particular areas with conifers. It also lives in parks and gardens, wherever there are trees.
Signs of a Squirrel problem:
Grey squirrels are active in the daytime and are easily seen and identified
Feeding signs include pine cones from which the wings have been stripped to get to the core.
Split open nuts, tooth marks
Squirrels also strip bark, particularly from deciduous trees
Squirrel tracks are sometimes visible in mud and snow.
WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE
Squirrels have a winter coat, which is grey above with a white underside. The summer coat is shorter, sleeker and brownish grey above. They have sharp claws for gripping and a long bushy tail for balance.
Grey squirrels breed twice a year. The litters being born in February/March and June/July with an average of 3-4 young.
Gestation is about 45 days and the young are weaned at 10 weeks old.
They build their nests (or dreys) of twigs and leaves in the forks of trees or tree hollows, known as dens. Dens are used for both shelter and for breeding.
IMPLICATIONS OF HAVING SQUIRRELS
Squirrels eat a wide range of nuts, fruit buds and shots, bird’s eggs and nestlings.
Squirrels can enter the roof spaces of houses and other buildings by climbing the walls or jumping from nearby trees. They chew woodwork and ceilings, strip insulation, electrical wiring, tearing up fibreglass and insulation.
In the garden they can take fruit, such as strawberries, apples and plums.
They frequently raid bird tables and feeders.
In parks and woodland they damage trees, by stripping the bark.
HOW DO WE GET RID OF SQUIRRELS?
Prevention is in the form of netting, fencing and electric fencing, in attics, buildings, round trees, under and over ground as necessary. Killing the squirrels will only provide short term relief. Squirrels can be caught in baited cage traps and moved to other areas.