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Grey Squirrel

Grey Squirrels are lively and interract with each other - entertaining footage for the Wildlife Trail Camera

The Grey Squirrel (Latin Name: Sciurus carolinensis) was introduced to the UK and Canada over a period from 1876 to 1930. The first site of introduction was Henbury Park, Cheshire. A certain M Brocklehurst is credited with introducing a pair, which bred quickly.

It's thought that because they were entertaining, they became a fashionable species to introduce in other areas. About 30 sites seperate sites had imported Grey Squirrels released. A combination of their feeding habitats, and the fact that they are resistant to, but carriers of Squirrel Pox (which is an illness which Red Squirrels often don't survive), means that Grey Squirrels have become the dominant species, and red squirrel numbers have declined to the point that there are just a few isolated areas with Red Squirrels in the UK.

The Grey Squirrel appears to be very playful and amusing, and are expert acrobats, so a worthwhile target for your camera trap.

Obtaining good video footage of Grey Squirrel is fairly easily but can be really rewarding.

Winter is a good time for capturing footage of squirrels; they don't hibernate, and need to eat well to survive at a time when food is scarce.

Grey Squirrels will bury hoards of food in shallow holes in times of plenty.

They remember roughly where they buried food, and rely on their keen sense of smell to find their food store. Often several squirrels will have buried caches of food in the same area, leading to them eating each others stores. They will constantly chase and bicker with each other. Squirrels often fail to find some of the seeds they've buried, and the result is perfectly planted tree seeds!

To obtain good footage, first find an area where squirrels frequent, and look for evidence of feeding and hoarding. Learn to recognise the distinctive gnawing pattern on nut shells, pine cones and seeds. Look for lots of shallow holes.

Once you've found a likely area which is safe for camera deployment, site your trail camera.

In the area covered by the camera, scatter very thinly a couple of handfuls of red peanuts (typically sold as bird food, not the salted variety). Then use your feet to bury the peanuts just below the surface, or kick leaves over them.

It's good to do this when the weather is forecast to be cold and frosty.

You should end up with plenty of good footage of Grey Squirrels.

Although many people view the Grey Squirrel as an invasive non-native pest, they've been around so are long and are so well established that they are here to stay. Remember that rabbits, and more then one species of deer were not originally native.

Young Peoples Trust Grey Squirrel Guide The Grey Squirrel Factsheet on the Young People's Trust for the Environment website. Information here includes lifespan, description, population, distribution, feeding, breeding, winter survival and daily life.
New Forest Explorers Grey Squirrel The New Forest Explorers website Grey Squirrel page has lots of very well presented and balanced information about the Grey Squirrel and it's habits.

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