Grey squirrels were introduced into the UK from the USA during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. As its name implies this species of squirrel is grey in colour, and weighs approximately 450-650g.
Squirrels have three of four litters per year, with each litter producing an average three infants. They reach maturity in approximately 10 months and their average life span is 2 years.
Grey squirrels are part granivore and part omnivore. Common vegetation eaten by the grey squirrel includes acorns, flowers, tree shoots, nuts etc. as well as fruits, roots and cereals. They also cause damage to trees by stripping off the bark and feeds off the sappy tissue beneath. Occasionally grey squirrels will feed on insects and bird eggs and they eat approximately 50 grams a day.
The grey squirrel is a serious pest problem and control is necessary. They cause damage to trees by stripping the bark off them. They damage parks and gardens (by eating away at flower beds etc), and in urban areas they are often found damaging roof timbers, electrical wiring and plumbing after gaining access to the loft spaces.
Control methods include shooting, trapping by using cages and spring traps or the use of poisons. The use of poisons is strictly by professional use only and licenses are required under the Grey Squirrel (Warfarin) Order 1973.
Squirrel cage traps and squirrel traps designed to kill on impact are somewhat easy to set. Single or multi catch cage traps are readily available for grey squirrels. When using the single cage traps outdoors, one unit should be effective for up to one hectare, and spaced around 100 metres apart from another. If using a multi-catch cage trap, one unit is suitable for three hectares and should be spaced 200 metres apart.
The best position for cage traps is under trees which are known to be used by the pest or in hedges. Ideally the ground should be clear of vegetation,
Pre-baiting of the cage traps is essential to the successfulness of the programme. Maize is a good attractant and it should be placed inside the trap for five continuous days. The trap needs to be visited twice a day and users should expect immediate success after a couple of days of pre-baiting. Cages can also be used in roof spaces etc in the same manner.
Once grey squirrels are caught in cages, they should be immediately humanely destroyed. One method is by running the squirrel into a sack and striking it with a sharp blow to the head.
If you are suffering from a squirrel nuisances why not try squirrel traps available from PPC Supplies.