- The grey squirrel is about 18 inches long, including its tail.
- The grey squirrel has small ears and eyes, and a very bushy tail.
- The grey squirrel is salt and pepper colored during winter months, with a white belly and tan specks on its tail. During summer, it is actually yellowish-brown in color.
Behavior & Habitat
The grey squirrel spends the majority of its time in the treetops, although when it comes to food, it forages from the ground. This squirrel builds its nest primarily in tree cavities and between branches, using materials of twig, leaves, moss, and grass. The grey squirrel uses its large, bushy tale to signal danger to other squirrels, as a means of keeping warm in winter, and as a balancing tool when climbing trees.
The grey squirrel searches out food by using its sense of smell. It does most of its food-gathering on the ground during the evening, with preferences changing according to season. In the spring, the menu consists of maple tree buds; during the summer months the grey squirrel gathers mostly wild fruits, seeds, berries, and nuts; fall provides acorns, butternuts, beechnuts and pine seeds. In the wintertime, the grey squirrel will eat from the stores it has buried underground during the rest of the year.
Grey squirrels mating season takes place from January to February, and again from June to July. The adult female perches atop the trees and makes a duck-like sound to capture the males' attention, after which a group of males will chase the female from tree to tree until she tires and succumbs to the leading male. Once mating is accomplished, the male has no part in rearing it's young. The female grey squirrel will give birth to a litter of 1 to 6 young which are born blind and furless. The mother will stay with her young until they are about 12 weeks old when they are ready to leave the nest.
In addition to the typical damage caused by most squirrel species (listed below) the grey squirrel poses a health risk to humans because of their tendency to harbor ticks, lice, fleas, tape and round worms and scabies.
- Squirrels may cause damage to wires, siding, insulation, and household items when they establish their nests in attics or other buildings.
- Squirrels may cause damage to bird feeders, flowers and vegetable gardens foraging for food.
- Squirrels may cause transformer shortages by traveling across telephone and electrical wires.
General Prevention & Control:
- Remove food sources including bird seed, or place wire cages over garden plants.
- Prevent entry into your home by trimming tree branches away from the roof, moving stacked firewood away from the home, and repairing cracks in foundation walls.