Grey squirrels

by Richard Jones

I'm not overly fond of grey squirrels. Compared to the reds, which the greys have replaced, they are great lumbering brutes.

Grey squirrelI'm not overly fond of grey squirrels. Compared to the reds, which the greys have replaced, they are great lumbering brutes. But I suppose I'm lucky that they do little damage in my garden other than digging up a few tulip bulbs, so I can appreciate their dextrous acrobatics and smile at their bobbity-skip gait without wanting to take a pop at them too often.

Despite the cats, at least one squirrel regularly comes right up to our back door to have a sniff around. It will now be encouraged even more after we flung a few nuts out through the cat flap at it. It greedily ate the first couple, then buried some, then came back for another chew.

I wonder if this is the same one that I've seen visiting our neighbours. Their kitchen is on the first floor and I've noticed one on several occasions exploring the windowsills up there. While they were away on holiday a short time back, we fed their cats, their hamsters and their fish. There was also a note on the kitchen surface asking us to leave out the odd nut or two on the sills for the half-tame squirrel. We duly obliged.

On their return we got to chatting about gardens and wildlife, what the swifts were up to, how many stag beetles had come flying over. When talk turned to the half-tame squirrel I was told, very authoritatively I thought, that she had babies somewhere. I wondered how they knew.

I'm still thinking about the answer I got. I can't decide whether it was some west-country expression I'd never come across, or perhaps a veterinary turn of phrase. Or was it just direct plain speaking? Apparently you could see quite clearly, as she walked along past the windows, all her nipples were up.

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Gardeners' World Web User 18/06/2009 at 16:07

I like Grey Squirrels,the have adapted and are prospering despite the often bad press,too many people want to reintroduce animals that have failed to survive ( sea eagle,beaver,wolf) and yet want to kill of those that have.

Gardeners' World Web User 18/06/2009 at 16:13

I too have a family of four grey squirrels which visit my garden which backs on to a large cemetery where they live in the tall trees., I have tried unsuccessfully to stop them eating the food put out for the birds. I also bought a squirrel proof feeder but they managed to open it, despite then tieing it shut with wire, which the chewed through...

Gardeners' World Web User 18/06/2009 at 16:15

I have endless stories about squirrels. The dumbest one lives in my garden. It has to flatten itself to get under the side gate but, when I have propped it open for some reason, it still flattens itself as if it were shut. My sister had very clever squirrels in Edmonton in Canada. They would dry their fungi between her logs and check everyday for dry ones to take away for winter storage. They had also learned to suck the sugar solution she put out for the humming birds. I have to look out for the buried nuts, chestnuts, acorns, in my garden when they germinate or else all would be jungle. My feeble-minded squirrel cannot remember where he buried them.

Gardeners' World Web User 18/06/2009 at 16:35

I was in the park yesterday with my 20 month old daughter. When I got back to my pushchair there was a grey squirrel on there. It wasn't until I got home that I realised the cheeky fellow had helped himself to the onion rings I had just bought from the supermarket! They sure have evolved!!

Gardeners' World Web User 18/06/2009 at 16:38

I have RED squirrels in my garden. My local wildlife trust hosts the Save our Squirrels team who are working to protect the remaining red squirrels in England. Grey squirrels are good to eat. Local butchers supply them here in Northumberland. Maybe if people elsewhere asked their butchers for them we could get the hunters out looking for easy prey and reduce the grey squirrel population. They spread squirrel pox to reds as well as destroying trees and houses.

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