General Information

There are two squirrel species found in the UK, the Red and the Grey. The red squirrel is native to the UK whereas the grey was brought to Europe in the late 19th century. The red squirrel is protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, whereas the grey squirrel is not due to carrying the pox virus which is harmful to reds. In Great Britain, Italy and Ireland, numbers of red squirrels have decreased drastically in recent years. This decline is associated with the introduction by humans of the eastern grey squirrel from North America, and habitat loss. Without conservation the species could be extirpated from Britain by 2030. The Grey Squirrel carries the Pox Virus Parapoxvirus, and this is usually fatal to the red. Grey squirrels have developed immunity to the disease having been exposed to the virus for many years. There is evidence, however, that some reds are also developing immunity to it.

Average Lifecycle


Grey squirrel courtship is similar to the red squirrels, with 1-10 or more males engaging in mating chases of a female; the dominant male usually, but not always, mating with the female. Two breeding periods occur within a population, one in late winter, and another in mid-summer, with litters born in March/April and July/August. Adult females two years of age or older may bear one or two litters per year. After a gestation period of 40-44 days, the female bears her litter of 1 to 9 infants (average 2 or 3) in a den or leafy nest. The hairless, blind neonates weigh about 14g-15g with their eyes opening at 28-35 days. Squirrels will have a full coat of fur when they begin to leave the nest or tree cavity around 42-49 days after birth. Not until they are 56-70 days old does the female wean her young. At this time, they begin to disperse. Young of the late summer litters may remain with the female during the winter. Sexual maturation takes place during the following spring or summer.

Quick Facts


Type: Mammal (Rodent)
Diet: Omnivore, although they are predominantly herbivorous
Lifespan: 2-5 years, with larger species tending to live longer
Size: 8-70 cm long depending on species
Weight: 400g – 600g depending on species
Habitat: Adapted to a huge range of habitat from tropical rainforest to semiarid desert
Range: The Americas, Europe and Asia, with an introduced population in Australasia
Scientific name: Sciuridae

Grey Squirrel

Grey squirrels have spread throughout most of mainland Britain although not to central and north Scotland. This species is an invasive non-native and does not have any conservation status nor protection measures.
With an estimated population of 2,520,000 across the UK, grey squirrels now heavily outweigh their red counterparts, of which, only around 10,000 -15,000 are thought to exist.

Red Squirrel

The red squirrel is protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.
Mating usually occurs in late winter up to March and again during the summer in July. Females produce two litters of 3 – 4 offspring per year, and the young are weaned around the age of 10 weeks, but do not breed until the age of one. Red squirrels can survive for up to six years in the wild.

FUN FACTS

• They can hang upside down, as well as can swim.
• In Finland “squirrel pelts” (skins) were used as a currency before coins were introduced.
• Oravannakka, or “squirrel pelt” is still used there as an expression for money.
• A red squirrel’s tail is used for balance, communication, to slow them down when jumping and as a snuggly blanket.

TREATMENT

Squirrels can cause untold damage in people’s homes and loft spaces, including electrical fires.
We will customise a treatment program to eradicate, as well as block and seal any accessible entry points.

Give us a call:
0333 200 0703