Squirrel Action Greenhead & Gilsland

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The Grey squirrel was introduced into Britain in the late nineteenth century from America and is replacing the reds in their habitat. The grey is bigger and more aggressive than the native red and compete for the same food and habitat often chasing or killing the reds. The greys are able to feed on the nuts and seeds from the broad leaved trees even when they are not ripe enough for the reds to manage. This makes for a shortage of suitable food for the reds and is partly the reason that the reds are being driven out to the coniferous forests in the Kielder area.

The other major problem is that the greys carry a virus that is proving fatal to the reds. Indeed, the greys do not seem to have any after effects from the virus. An infected grey will leave the virus through droppings, urine and blood thus infecting the areas it has visited. A red visiting the same area will pick up the infection through sores, cuts etc and will then spread it around other reds in the area

A Grey squirrel can be recognised by its size, no ear tufts and a white edged tail. It weighs from about 300g to 800g

Identify Grey Squirrel

Photo by Miranda Higgs

Photo courtesy of Miranda Higgs, taken in the Liverpool area. Note the ears and claws.


Grey Squirrel

This photo shows clearly the white edged tail and no ear tufts.

Here are a couple of photos showing the drays where the Greys live. These can be a bit difficult to see but with practice it will become easier.

Grey dray Grey dray

Grey Dray




©SAGG C Kippax 2007