Scientific name: Sciurus carolinensis
The grey squirrel was introduced into the UK in the 1800s. It provides an easy encounter with wildlife for many people, but can be damaging to woodlands and has contributed to the decline of the red squirrel.
Average lifespan: 2-5 years
The Grey squirrel is classified as an invasive non-native species.
When to seeJanuary to December
AboutOne of our most familiar mammals, the grey squirrel can be found in woods, gardens and parks across town and country, and often proves to be very tame. It is a frequent visitor to gardens with bird tables and feeders. Grey squirrels feast on hazelnuts by cracking the shell in half. You may also find pine cones that have been nibbled, leaving what looks like an apple core behind. They will cache their food in autumn if it is abundant. Grey squirrels make a rough nest, called a 'drey' out of twigs, leaves and strips of bark in the fork of a branch, high up in the tree canopy. Females may have two litters of three to four young a year.
How to identifyThe grey squirrel has a silver-grey coat, with a brownish face and feet, and pale underside. It has a characteristically bushy tail. It is easily distinguished from the Red Squirrel by its larger size, grey fur, and smaller ears without tufts.
In our area
In Shropshire, grey squirrels can be seen almost everywhere. Since first appearing in the county in the 1950s, the numbers of greys have increased dramatically and they have now displaced the native red squirrel.