Grey squirrels

  • Scientific name: Sciurus carolinensis
  • Type: Mammals

Key information

These squirrels have grey fur and often sit upright with their large bushy tails arched over their backs.

Grey squirrels, originally from North America, were released in the UK by 19th century landowners. They are now very common and widespread.

Grey squirrels are active during the day, foraging for food in trees and on the ground – they often visit peanut feeders in gardens. In the autumn they spend time storing nuts to eat during the winter.

Their nest, called a drey, is a compact, spherical structure. It is slightly larger than a football and constructed of twigs, leaves, bark and grass.

Grey squirrels tend to breed in between January and April and, if food is plentiful, they may have a second litter in the summer.

They are extremely successful and have replaced our native red squirrels over most of the UK.

What they eat:

Grey squirrels eat acorns, bulbs, tree shoots, buds, fungi, nuts and roots. Occasionally squirrels will take birds' eggs and chicks.


About 30 cm, tail about 25 cm
Up to 600 g

Identifying features:

Natural habitats: Fence/wall Hedge Lawn/grassy area Peanut feeder Shrub Woodland area

Where and when to see them

Throughout the garden, especially on peanut feeders. Also in parks, woodland and hedgerows

Grey squirrels can be seen at any time of year.

  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec