Belongs to: rodents

Compare with: red squirrel

Grey squirrel Sciurus caroliniensis


Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Familiar bushy-tailed climber seen in woods and gardens

Habitat: anywhere with large trees for nesting and a food supply, especially deciduous or mixed woodland

Introduced to Britain from N. America early this century and now widespread across most of England and part of Scotland

Recognition

Grey above, tinged with brown in summer, and white below; body up to 30 cm and bushy tail almost as long

Active by day; buries a store of nuts for winter (does not hibernate)

Feeds on seeds, berries, nuts, shoots, sometimes insects and birds' eggs

Lifecycle

Nest (or 'drey') is a bulky ball of leaves in a tree, sometimes in a hole

2 litters a year, late winter and summer

Filled a 'niche' left by the native red squirrel as this declined because of disease; may now be preventing them re-colonising

  • Main photo

Photo © Gerald Downey