Grey Squirrel

Squirrels can be a pest in many gardens, and they are especially cunning at stealing from bird feeders. Grey squirrels are intelligent creatures that can become quite used to humans. Introduced from the United States, it has now become the dominant squirrel species in the UK, and it is also found in eastern counties of Ireland.

  • Facts

  • Identify Damage

  • Control Options

  • Baits

Facts

Description of the Grey Squirrel

  • Scientific Name:
    Sciurus carolinensis
  • Colour:
    Grey / brown
  • Weight:
    400-600g
  • Length:
    23-30cm
  • Tail Length:
    19-25cm
  • Lifespanl:
    12 years in the wild

Reproduction of the Grey Squirrel

  • Litter Size:
    2-6
  • No. of Litters:
    2
  • Sexual Maturity:
    6-12 months
  • Gestation Period:
    44 days
  • Breeding Season:
    December to February, and May to Junev
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Diet of the Grey Squirrel

The Grey Squirrel will eat a range of foods, including berries, seeds, nuts and fungi. They will often raid birdfeeders for food, and when food is particularly scarce they will also eat insects and small rodents.

Habitat of the Grey Squirrel

  • Geography:
    Native to North America, now present in the UK, eastern Ireland and parts of Italy. Found in dense woodland areas.
  • Nest Location:
    The drey is built in the forks of trees, or occasionally in the attics or outside walls of a house.
  • Active Periods:
    Early and late in the day.

Identify Damage

Grey squirrels eat seeds, buds, flowers, shoots, nuts, berries and fruit from many trees and shrubs. They also eat fungi and insects, and occasionally birds’ eggs and fledglings. They will strip bark from trees during the summer months.
Squirrels are tree-dwelling rodents, and the damage that they cause can be compared with that of mice and rats. Most of the damage is found in the garden, such as plants stripped of fruit and grain. Squirrels are granivores, and grain and nuts are their primary diet.
Some trees are stripped of bark by squirrels during the summer months; beech and sycamore are most often attacked.

They can also enter loft spaces and cause damage to wires, timbers and insulation. They can be exceedingly noisy, especially during the mating season.

Squirrels make a lot of noise, so an increased racket may be a sign that you have a furry visitor. You might also find dreys; twigs, leaves and torn up insulation in your loft space.

Squirrel droppings vary in shape and colour but may be spherical or more elongated. They are easily confused with those of the brown rat.

Control Options

Squirrel Traps

A well-positioned Havahart® live animal cage trap along with a tempting squirrel treat will make the trapping task simple. Unique safety features make this the ideal trapping solution. When attempting to trap a squirrel, place the trap along the path the squirrel takes to your garden, home or other area where you do not want them.

Humane Havahart® squirrel traps come in a variety of styles and sizes. Before trapping please be aware of the law associated with squirrel trapping. It is a criminal offence to re-release a captured grey squirrel back into the wild!

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Section 11 and the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 Article 12 will offer further advice and guidance.

Squirrel Repellants

 The Sonic Pest Chaser that is used for mice and rats may work for squirrels since they are a member of the rodent family.

Baits

Suggested Squirrel Bait

Do you have a squirrel trap and need to know what the best squirrel bait options are? Havahart® recommends the following baits to attract squirrels to your squirrel trap.

Place a small plate with squirrel bait at the end of the squirrel trap.

  • Cereal
  • Grains
  • Nuts (especially peanuts)
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Anise oil (a drop or two on bread)
  • Shelled corn
  • Apples
  • Mixed peanut butter and oatmeal or peanut butter and molasses
  • Popcorn