Grey squirrel facts

Facts and figures

For in-depth information see: (Harris and Yalden 2008), (Gurnell, 1987) or (Koprowski, 1994).

Grey squirrel distribution (UK)

UK Grey squirrel distribution maps can be viewed at the National Biodiversity Network gateway (NBN). See Red squirrel facts for more information on the introduction of the Grey squirrel and how they are expanding through the UK., displacing the native Red squirrel.

Grey squirrel European distribution

Grey squirrels are beginning to spread through the forests of Northern Italy and like the U.K., appears to be at the expense of the native red squirrel. It is thought that greys will soon be established in the vast continuous swathes of forest across the Alps giving them a foothold into other European countries.

Map of the current known range of the grey squirrel in Europe. © Societas Europaea Mammalogica 2010

Map of Eastern Grey squirrel distribution in Europe. © Societas Europaea Mammalogica 2010.

Grey squirrels were first introduced into Italy when two pairs escaped from an ambassador's garden in Turin in 1948. The spread was slow until 1970. Between 1970 and 1990 the red squirrels’ range in this area was reduced by 50%, with a further 55% from 1990-1996. Efforts to remove grey squirrels before they spread into the continuous woodlands in the foothills of the Alps were held up due to issues with animal welfare groups. The grey squirrels' range now expands into the wooded hills of the Alps and Piedmont, where it is no longer considered feasible to eradicate from Italy. There is now a risk of expansion of the grey squirrel into the rest of Europe.

Further details can be found on SquirrelWeb.

Greys in South Africa

Since the release of a few grey squirrels near Cape Town in the early 1900's, and other releases some 190 km away in 1957 and 1968 they have spread and now inhabit urban, agricultural or afforested areas within an area of 7000 km2 of the Cape Peninsula and areas of the Western Cape. However the grey squirrels are not considered invasive here, possibly due to the native predators controlling their numbers.