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Those poxy grey squirrels

(21 Posts)
Elegran Fri 15-Feb-19 14:16:06

The replacement of red squirrels by grey ones over much of the country has been shown to be at least as much to do with disease as with competition. Where the two co-exist, squirrel pox (probably brought in by the imported greys) can spread from one species to the other. It does not have much effect on greys, but is fatal to reds within a couple of weeks.
Further to past threads on red and grey squirrels, here is an interesting talk on how theoretical research has shown the best ways to try to slow the inexorable advance of the greys. Very watchable. (Don't panic - no need to do any maths)

paddyann Fri 15-Feb-19 17:04:03

We have a pair of greys in our garden ,we feed them .Sorry if that annoys you but the GC love them and love watching their comical antics.When a neighbour asked my OH for a loan of his shotgun so he could "cull" them he got short shrift .While they are on my ground they're safe

Elegran Fri 15-Feb-19 17:32:42

It doesn't annoy me, Paddyann Your garden, you do as you wish. A shotgun is a bit of an overkill with a small animal like a grey squirrel, anyway.
However, if the greys should develop a "bit of a sniffle" perhaps it is would be worth considering that a sniffle in a grey could become a nasty and fatal infection in any reds that are still in the area. "Quantitative evidence from the red squirrel stronghold in Formby, Lancashire where greys are controlled within the stronghold indicates that reds can become infected and that this leads to an epidemic that results in approximately 80% mortality" Livingwithpoxreport.pdf There are some really horrible photographs on the net of red squirrels with this disease. Perhaps if you knew it was in the area, the shotgun would seem the lesser evil (when the GC were not around!)

paddyann Fri 15-Feb-19 20:36:59

nearest reds are around 3 miles away so they should be safe from Dorothy and Marilyn . Thats what the GD's call them .

SueDonim Fri 15-Feb-19 21:04:16

There are red squirrels round where I live. I can't think that I've seen any grey ones locally - long may that last! The reds are so much prettier than the scrawny grey interlopers.

As an aside, I saw a beautiful snow hare last night. They're so big!

Gonegirl Fri 15-Feb-19 21:25:40

I think grey squirrels are quite sweet. It's not this present generation's fault they get such a bad press.

Chewbacca Fri 15-Feb-19 21:52:42

My OH bought squirrel meat for a casserole recently. Wonder if that was grey squirrel? Either way, he ate it alone. savage.

Marydoll Fri 15-Feb-19 22:36:39

We just had a conversation today about them at the Glasgow meet up.
What a coincidence!

RosieLeah Sat 16-Feb-19 06:13:24

I haven't see any red squirrels since I was a child and living in London. I know that the greys were 'introduced' and so not a native species and that they are responsible for the loss of the reds. This is the result of man interfering with nature, you can't blame the squirrels for being immigrants. I enjoy walking in my local park and always take a bag of nuts to feed the squirrels and so do many other people. They are a delight.

Elegran Sat 16-Feb-19 11:20:43

Does that mean that a pet tiger that is released when it gets too big for its owner to control should be left to wander the park? After all, it is not to blame for someone moving it into a suburban semi. Or should man (one of whom thought he could interfere with nature and treat it as a pussy-cat) try to reverse that interference?

Jalima1108 Sat 16-Feb-19 11:26:19

We have no red squirrels within miles but we do have grey squirrels around here and we have nut trees in the hedge so they bury their hoard all over the garden. They are (unfortunately) very cute and entertaining.

If I thought there were red squirrel nearby and someone wanted to cull the greys I would have to let them do that, but I couldn't do it myself.

Jalima1108 Sat 16-Feb-19 11:27:22

Chewbacca shock

I have threatened the pigeons in the garden with the word 'pie' but squirrel casserole is a step too far.

midgey Sat 16-Feb-19 11:31:07

SueDomin the grey squirrels are not scrawny! Fat greedy thugs around here guzzling any bird food they like. Horrid things.

Elegran Sat 16-Feb-19 11:33:24

I have been told that most of the pigeons roo-cooing on our chimneys before dawn would be too tough for a pigeon pie, Jalima

Jalima1108 Sat 16-Feb-19 11:38:44

I could stew them for a long time in the slow cooker Elegran grin
Actually - I'm too squeamish to try!

Elegran Sat 16-Feb-19 11:44:23


SueDonim Sat 16-Feb-19 12:57:22

Midgey the greys I've seen down south always look a bit scrawny compared to the fluffy reds we get here. Maybe those particular ones weren't being fed by generous householders! grin

The greys do a lot of damage to our native trees, too, by stripping off the bark, which reds don't do.

We're very luck here to have red squirrels, snow hares and even pine martens around.

Jalima1108 Sat 16-Feb-19 20:40:29

My grey squirrels have names.
Until Rufus the Red arrives they are here to stay.

Jalima1108 Sat 16-Feb-19 20:41:40

ps I haven't seen them stripping off the bark of our trees in the garden. Why do they do that?

SueDonim Sat 16-Feb-19 22:47:44

To get at the sap, apparently. This isn't a recent article but I'm assuming the squirrels haven't changed their behaviour!

Ailsa43 Sun 17-Feb-19 00:14:09

In the parks and glens in the west of Scotland where I grew up, I never saw a grey squirrel , but there were plenty of red ones.