Grey squirrels facts
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 on each front paw and five toes on their back paws.
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:
The reserve is rightly noted and admired for the veteran and ancient trees, particularly its Oaks. Unfortunately in 100 to 200 years time when perhaps some of these have died there will be no replacements for them for your grandchildren to admire. The vast majority of today’s young Oaks that have been planted since the reserve was established have been crippled by the grey squirrels ring barking them. Since about the 1950s greys have proliferated and taken over in England, pushing our native red squirrels into isolated pockets such as the Scilly Isles, areas of the Lake District and the Isle of Wight. Belatedly action id being taken against this invasive species.
We need pine martens!