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Squirrels

Brief History of the Grey Squirrel in Britain

The Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is possibly the most frequently observed wild mammal of the British fauna, especially in towns. As such it undoubtedly has an unquantifiable amenity value. Although mainly introduced to Britain from the eastern USA - in the 30 years or so following the first introduction in 1876, its range on mainland Britain now covers more than 40,000 square miles of central and southern England and central Scotland. It is still expanding. The Grey Squirrel was also introduced into east-central Ireland, where it is still present.

An adult Grey Squirrel weighs about 450g. Its muscular body, excellent sight and special eye structure adapt it well for its mainly arboreal existence, although the squirrel is equally at home on the forest floor, or in gardens and urban parks. Squirrels are basically diurnal creatures, with major peaks of activity around dawn, and just before dusk. In bad weather grey squirrels, which are particularly susceptible to fatal chilling when wet, may remain in their dreys for three or four days before hunger forces them to venture out and feed.

The damage that grey squirrels can do to managed woodland is considerable due to their habit of excessive bark stripping. Beech, Oak and Sycamore woods of between 10 and 40 years growth are particularly at risk and sometimes whole plantations can be destroyed unless the squirrel numbers are carefully controlled. Squirrel control is best carried out during early spring (March/April) just before the period of maximum tree damage (May/June/July). Cage and spring traps are particularly effective for squirrel control. Large numbers can be removed from woodland situations by the careful setting of tunnel traps and cages. In situations where both grey and red squirrels are present, only cage traps should be used - this allows any red squirrels to be released unharmed.

To learn the art of successful squirrel trapping why not buy the dvd? It contains all the information needed to become skilled in the traditional methods of squirrel control.



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