10 facts about grey squirrels

Yesterday’s plump and cuddly grey squirrel sent us into an afternoon of Google-based research; here are ten things you may not have known about Sciurus carolinensis.

Grey squirrels were first released in the UK in 1876 in Henbury Park, Cheshire; it was fashionable then to have exotic species on your private estate.

They will will strip bark from trees during the summer months to get at the sugary sap beneath.

They rely on scent to find the nuts and acorns  they bury in the autumn; they do not remember where they stored them.

They can be right- or left-handed!

They can swim.

They can hang upside down.

They have four fingers and five toes.

They have recently taken to living and nesting in loft spaces where they  chew woodwork and ceilings, strip the insulation from electrical wiring, tear up insulation to make their nest and sometimes drown in cold water tanks.

They do not hibernate over the winter, but they sleep a lot, sometimes for days if the weather is bad.

Their young are called kittens and here is a video of some squirrel kittens trying and failing to persuade their mother to feed them:

2 thoughts on “10 facts about grey squirrels

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  1. Interesting pros and cons about grey squirrels. The cute video made me wonder how many kittens can a squirrel have?

    1. There is a variety of opinion online; the most frequent litter-size is three but up to nine is possible. Mature females usually have two litters a year. Mortality rate is high and apparently only one in four survives its first year.

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