Gill Sinclair's picture

Poor grey squirrel

Observed: 30th September 2012 By: Gill Sinclair
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course completeThe Mammal SocietyThe Vincent Wildlife Trust
Mammals expert
Grey squirrel
Description:
Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) interacts

Comments

GrizzledBadger's picture

Whats poor about it, as far

Whats poor about it, as far as I'm concerned its good Squirrel, as it is dead.

Brock

Gill Sinclair's picture

Grey vs red

Hi Gareth

I am extremely concerned about the decline of our native red squirrel, but humans introduced the grey squirrel AND altered the British landscape so that grey-friendly habitats predominate - the latter is a huge factor in the red's decline.

There are no red squirrels anywhere near my area and sadly probably never will be. This grey was no threat to any red squirrel and I don't personally think it's good that it's dead.

However everyone is entitled to their own opinion and it's interesting to hear yours, so thanks for the comment.

Gill Sinclair
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
www.gillsinclair.net
Twitter @Gill_Sinclair

Sara Garcia's picture

I agree

Hi Gareth,
I totally agree with you on your comment.

Sara Garcia Hipolito

GrizzledBadger's picture

The amount of damage caused

The amount of damage caused by these trree -rats is the reason for the comment. My apologies if it caused offence.

Brock

the naturalist man's picture

Grey squirrel

Looks more like it's sunbathing! It looks like it should be holding one of those silver foil screens some people use to get more rays.

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'
http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8411

pirayaguara's picture

Greys are the main factor in

Greys are the main factor in the reds decline and need to be controlled to stop their spread, they also predate eggs and young birds, what is more worrying is that reds are now established in Italy and "bunny-huggers" are doing their damnedest to prevent their control before they spread and threaten reds throughout their global range.

Stuie Heale's picture

Grey squirrels mainly

Grey squirrels mainly out-compete the reds in the UK as they are more adaptable. They are vectors of the squirrel-pox disease which does not affect them but is lethal to the reds. They destroy tress, which are vital habitats to our native woodland birds as well as steal and eat on their eggs. Take a look at this website; http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/fcpn004.pdf/$FILE/fcpn004.pdf.
As cute as they seem to the unassuming naturalist, they are in fact a major invasive species and biodiversity nightmare to our native species.

S. Heale

Gill Sinclair's picture

Take a look at this website - out of interest

I should preface this by saying (before anyone starts 'storming' at me:-))
that I'm highlighting this website just because I find the whole grey squirrel debate genuinely interesting and if other people haven't yet made up their minds and are equally interested in an open-minded way, they might also want to look at this website to get another set of views http://www.grey-squirrel.org.uk/

It's also interesting that although a recent study found domestic cats impacted adversely on 21 threatened species across Europe whereas the grey squirrel impacts on 2 (see my post http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/295482#comment-87650 ), most people wouldn't see cats as a major invasive species and a biodiversity nightmare to native species. Perhaps this is because the species threatened by the cat are not all as charismatic as the red squirrel? As I said, I genuinely find this an interesting debate (and isn't it amazing that this discussion only began because I included one extra word in the title of this Observation? :-))

Gill Sinclair
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
www.gillsinclair.net
Twitter @Gill_Sinclair

Stuie Heale's picture

That's a really interesting

That's a really interesting point. I suppose its due to us been used to cats being domesticated since the Roman occupation of Great Britain. I'm personally looking at the destructive factors that the Eastern Grey Squirrel has on UK shores. There is compelling evidence to point at this creature being responsible for the widespread destruction of much of UK native wildlife, due to it being imported as a Victorian penchant in the mid 1800's. Maybe in a few centuries time our views will differ, however it will be very interesting to see what has become of the grey squirrel. It depends on what you want to see more of I guess.. A very interesting debate!

S. Heale

Ray Turner's picture

An interesting debate

So reds do not eat birds eggs? Or ring bark? If we are going to debate non native species here is one Homo sepien sepien. The world is a dangerous place and BTO Nest Recording Scheme data show significantly greater than 50% predation rate of nests in the countryside. Anecdotally (from a very experienced NRS recorder in Fife) this is largely from Corvids with some mammal (mostly fox) predation of ground and low nesting species, he was not very concerned about squirrels of either colour.

I think in an ideal world we would not have introduced the grey, however we start from here and as eradicating the grey seems very unlikely best we embrace them. Lets take measures to ensure the red survives, which will involve humane culling of greys from time to time and adopt forestry practices which minimise the damage (also lets not forget dead wood is at least as biodiverse as live).

Interestingly the reds are developing immunity to SPPV (www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081016124528.htm) though admittedly an inevitably slow process.

Ray

Ray

pirayaguara's picture

Corvids and foxes can not

Corvids and foxes can not gnaw their way into tree holes or nest boxes as grey squirrels do - they have been shown to be a threat to pied flycatcher as one example and this predation is in addition to natural predation

Homominids have been present in the UK on and off for 700, 000 years and the ancestors of many of the current population of much of the UK walked up from southern France at the end of the last Ice Age like most other native mammals.

Culling should be as humane as practically possible but needs to be regular if it is to be effect

Managing woodland for biodiversity is not consistent with prevent the spread of greys -
The best landscape scale management would be to create buffer zones free of woodland that can support greys and free of corridors they can use to spread - I beleve that is how the Wirral population survived.

The situation for reds is desperate as greys are currently invading the Lake District and are as far north as Edinburgh.