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The Grey Squirrel

  • Food

As the grey squirrel can establish and live in higher population density it's food demands are much greater than our native red squirrel.

It can eat a greater variety of plant foods at an earlier stage of maturity. Acorns are a prime example of this, red squirrels find the tannin in acorns unpalatable and grey squirrels will utilise this food source in advance of reds, along with most other food sources. 

This results in the red squirrels being starved of vital food sources or being displaced from prime habitat.  

  • Disease

Squirrelpox virus (SQPV) can be carried by grey squirrels without causing any symptoms, but is typically fatal for red squirrels within two weeks of infection.

  • ​Habitat Loss

Grey squirrels due to their capacity to live in high densities have a larger impact on woodland habitat. Mainly via bark stripping, this results in trees being damaged and also dying directly or through secondary infection. 


Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)

Red squirrels are currently in the mist of one of the most drastic declines of all UK mammals. Currently on the UK Mammal Society's red list as an endangered species.

Mainly due to the introduction of non-native grey squirrels in the early 20th century. Grey squirrels are able to outcompete reds and they also carry the squirrelpox virus.

Reds have now disappeared from most of England and Wales. However with huge commitment from volunteer led local squirrel groups in some areas Reds are arguably holding their own and expanding in some areas. 

Below is some key information regarding our red squirrel.

  • Food

Red squirrels diets mainly made up of seeds and nuts. Pine cones are a particular favourite in our area, mainly due to the local authority tree planting on reclamations sites. made up of Scots Pine, lodgepole pine.

Other favourites consist of hazelnuts, fruit, tree shoots, bark, lichen and fungi. Fledglings and eggs may be taken, but this is unusual due to lower density of squirrels in an area. compared to grey squirrels,

Red squirrels will cache seeds and nuts, ready to be eaten in winter when food is scarce.

  • Disease

Squirrel Pox virus & Adenovirus are two of the most fatal diseases to effect red squirrels.

Squirrel Pox can be passed on via grey squirrels and it's deadly effect take up to two week to kill reds, signs are legions around the eyes, paws and mouth. Adenovirus is less know about and often no signs or cause of death. This disease can also be linked to other rodents. 

Volunteers Serving Food

Volunteer Your Time

Want to join our efforts but not sure where to start? Volunteer Your Time and take advantage of this incredible opportunity to lend your support. It’s a great way to contribute to our cause, and every little bit counts towards paving the path for a better tomorrow. Get in touch with us today for more details about how you can help.

Red Squirrel Conservation Information: Get Involved
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