Scientific name: Sciurus carolinensis
Originally from North America, a native of the eastern and mid-western
United States and in the southerly portions of the eastern provinces of
Canada, the Grey Squirrel was released in the UK by 19th century landowners.
They are blamed for displacing our native red squirrels, out-competing
the native reds for food and introducing a deadly pox virus, to which
the Greys had become immune, to the Red Squirrel population. They are
very common and widespread throughout England south of Cumbria and Wales,
and common in local pockets in Scotland. They are absent from the rest
of mainland Europe, except for small localised populations in Italy. They
have grey fur and often sit upright with their large bushy tails arched
over their backs. They are very active during the day foraging for their
food of acorns, bulbs, tree shoots, buds, fungi, nuts and roots. They
will also raid birds' nests taking eggs and chicks. Protecting bird feeders
in the garden from their attentions can also be a major problem!