There are two types of squirrels present in the United Kingdom, the red squirrel and the grey squirrel.
Contrary to public opinion, squirrels are a serious pest as they can cause significant structural damage to your home/ business and can even be detrimental to your health.
Red Squirrel (Sciurus Vulgaris)
The typical lifespan of the red squirrel is 6 years. They are approximately 100-350g in weight, with a body length of 18-24cm and a tail length of 17-18cm.
Our native squirrel has been living in the UK for approximately 10,000 years but are a beautiful, rare sight nowadays. Red squirrels are officially classed as an endangered species and are protected by law under the wildlife and countryside act 1981.
Grey Squirrel (Sciurus Carolinensis)
Grey squirrels have a typical lifespan of 5 – 7 years. They are approximately 450-650g in weight, with a body lengthof 24-26cm and a tail length of 19-24cm.
Grey squirrels have caused havoc as they are not originally native to the United Kingdom. They were introduced in the 1870s from North America and despite the fact they they are appreciated by some for their cute looks, they are a wide-spread problem.
The main issue with grey squirrels is that our native red squirrel population has dropped. The wild life trusts have estimated that there are only approximately 140,000 left, compared with 2.5m grey squirrels, which are out competing their native cousins for shelter and food. They can also transmit a disease called squirrelpox to the red squirrels, which will usually kill them within the matter of weeks.
The grey squirrel species seem to be immune to this virus which could partly explain their growing numbers. The grey squirrel causes damage to forestry, local parks and woodlands. They are particularly drawn to the sycamore, sweet chestnut, pine, larch, norway spruce and beech trees, stripping bark which can result in the death or weakening of leading shoots. As a result of this, misshapen trees are a common sight in squirrel dense areas.
It’s not surprising that squirrels are one of the most common causes of house fires. Once they build a nest in your loft, they can spend a considerable amount of time gnawing which in turn causes substantial damage that can prove to be quite costly.
In the garden, squirrels can invade your plants and fruits such as: plums, crocus cormus, pears, sweetcorn, tulip bulbs, apples and strawberries. They also raid small birds nests, dig holes in lawns to hide food and frequently attack nut feeders.
Removing or controlling squirrels that enter the roof space is important. Once they are inside your property, they can chew their way through woodwork and ceilings, strip electrical wiring insulation and rip up fibreglass to form a drey.