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Grey squirrel

Grey squirrel Sciurus carolinensis

Photo credit: GBNNSS

  • Appearance: Medium-sized (24-28 cm) silver-grey/brown rodent with bushy tail. Much larger than the protected native red squirrel.
  • Biology: Sexually mature after 10-12 months producing 3-4 young up to twice a year.
  • Diet: Acorns, bulbs, tree shoots, fungi, roots, chicks and eggs.
  • Behaviour: Can climb or forage on the ground, active during the day.
  • Impact: Outcompetes and carries disease harmful to native red squirrel causing their extinction. Negative impact on woodland, forestry and horticulture by stripping bark from trees. May impact nesting birds and outcompete feeding birds.
  • Legal status: Species of special concern listed under the retained EU Regulation 1143/2014 and the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement & Permitting) Order 2019.


  • Unless you have a licence or permit or an exemption applies you must not:
    • keep them in your house, garden or business
    • sell them to other people
    • exchange them for goods
    • release them into the environment
    • let them breed or escape
    • import them into the UK
    • transport them within the UK
    • export them to other countries


  • What to do if you see Grey squirrel for sale or other offences being committed: Make a report by following the guidance here.