Pest Control in Berkshire
Grey Squirrel Control Information
The grey squirrel as the name implies has a grey body and tail, with a white belly. Squirrels can grow up to 25cm and their tail is around 20cm. An adult grey squirrel can weigh up to 0.5 kg.
Grey squirrels can be found throughout most of southern England (except the Isle of Wight), Wales, Some parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Squirrels can been seen all year.
The grey squirrel was first recorded in Britain in the 1820s, but grey squirrels were not released into the wild until 1876 when allegedly a chap named T. V. Brocklehurst liberated a pair of squirrels in Cheshire. Why the squirrels were originally released is still a bit of a mystery. The most likely reason for the squirrels release is that it fitted in with the Victorians' idea of reshaping all aspects of the world, and it became the fashionable thing to do. At that time very few people were aware of the damage that grey squirrels might cause to native wildlife. More squirrel introductions followed, like the pair which were released at Loch Long in 1892. As a result, within 25 years grey squirrels had spread to the eastern side of Loch Lomond and Stirlingshire - an area of 300 square miles!
Grey squirrels can be found in woodland and urban areas such as parks and gardens, squirrels are mainly found oak, beech and other nut trees. Squirrels can often be seen forging on the ground.
Habits and Biology:
During the autumn months you might see squirrels burying nuts and acorns. They do this to provide food for the winter months when food is scarcer. They can usually find the buried food again by using their strong sense of smell. Although not all the nuts are found! One of the more destructive habits of the grey squirrel is to chew the bark off young trees to get to the fleshy green wood underneath. This can sometimes kill the tree, and explains why grey squirrels are not always popular with foresters, if a squirrel gets into a house the damage can be quite shocking! Cables will be nibbled through sometimes resulting in the squirrel being electrocuted or even causing a fire. Squirrels also carry squirrel fleas and on many occasions the loft insulation has been infested with squirrel fleas.
Grey squirrels can also carry the squirrel parapox virus which is fatal to our native red squirrels. Grey squirrels rarely die from the disease because they've developed antibodies.
The grey squirrels breeding season starts in January and finishes around June, Squirrels will have two litters if the weather it’s warm, a squirrel little can consist of 2 - 4 young. This is when they are at their most obvious. If you walk through a wood at this time of year you can often see the males chasing the females in the tree tops, and hear their screeching calls.
A Squirrels Diet:
Squirrels eat mostly nuts and seeds, however they will take bird eggs and chicks from the nest. The front teeth of the grey squirrel are continually growing, and to prevent them getting too long, they need to constantly nibble on something to grind them down.
Grey squirrel control is vital for the welfare of other native species like British song birds, red squirrels and our woodlands. If the grey squirrel numbers were not kept control it would have a massive effect of the local wildlife.