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Thread: Grey Squirrels

  1. #1
    Heavenly Creature Ecobob's Avatar
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    Grey Squirrels

    During this evenings net surfing session, (which is a bit like channel hopping for those like me who don't watch much TV) I came a cross a site, or rather a page / club dedicated to hunting Grey Squirrels in the UK. Now I am aware that they are not native to this island and that the red squirrel is or rather was here first but does this really matter in the grand scheme of things.
    I mean if you go far enough back in history then we are not native to this island , but there isn't a site dedicated to eradicating the British , OK I didn't actually check for that but I don't think there is one at least.
    So what is the big deal with grey squirrels, I mean they don't exactly cause us any direct harm, they don't go around mugging folks or beating us up and as far as I am informed it is our fault that they are here in the first place.
    This site was full of blood thirsty comments like 'they shouldn't be here' and 'They should all be shot' but surely if they were introduced here then they have as much right to live and breath as any other creature that lives on this island, I mean it's not like it's their fault they ended up here is it?
    I just don't get it, or am I missing something?
    Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.
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  2. #2
    Heavenly Creature nicklincs's Avatar
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    I think grey squirrels have been blamed for the decline of red squirrels. Maybe this could be why some people feel the need to hate them ?
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  3. #3
    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    They destroy millions of trees each year. They slowdown natural tree regeneration. This island was once covered In forest. Natural disasters (ice age) have time and time again put trees, forests,woodlands on the back foot. Then humans came along and competed for land. Forests have declined to the point of consisting of mainly plantations and many many small woodlands. Resulting in loss of habitat for Red squirels.
    Where in time Red Squires joined the tree rat race I know not. They rely on particular tree covered habitats. Introduced grey squirrels have dominated many of these remaining habitats and continue to colonise any newly planted sites.
    Red squirels are out competed for food by they greys. Red squirels cannot digest acorns like the grey squirrels. Grey squirrels carry a disease that does not effect them but can kill the Reds.
    When under pressure from food shortages, habitat loss, preditors, humans. Red squirrels may not breed unlike the greys.
    Red squirel pelts were once used as currency before coinage.
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    Divine Light Angio's Avatar
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  5. #5
    Tuning In kkbell's Avatar
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    I know they're considered bad for pushing the red squirrels out a bit, but I still like them! They're cuties...
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    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    They don't even taste all that good. Treerats are rodents. They do look cute and are fun to watch.

  7. #7
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    They make a good case for facilitating the regrowth of pine martens in order to regenerate the red squirrel population. The theory is that red squirrels are small, light and nimble enough to evade them (i.e. can stand on smaller branches) compared with the bigger grey squirrel who are much *more likely* to be caught and chomped. I read this on the Guardian, and I think they said the correlation has been proven somewhere in Wales and/or elsewhere.

    Many people would argue otherwise; 'it's irresponsible to [re]introduce an apex predator to an area'.
    I believe money is subsidised to pay gamekeepers and the like for the trapping and culling of grey squirrels.
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    Transcending PDCambs's Avatar
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    We've got grey and black squirrels on our campsite. The black ones are a mutant grey and nothing to do with the reds.

    I've seen squirrels damage pipes and cabling when they've gotten into a house's roof before, but I'd say this doesn't happen all that frequently.

    My brothers eaten them several times in the USA, where squirrel gravy is considered a delicacy by some hill-billy types, and I tried one thirty years ago in Wales. I'd say they eat OK, but there is more meat on a rabbit .... both of which will be dry unless slowly casseroled, in my experience ..... certainly not the worse thing I've eaten!

    This summer I've pondered if the blacks are more intelligent than the greys, as I watched a grey carry acorns out into the campsite field to bury them; watched by a black squirrel, who as the grey retreated to find another acorn, would run over to the hidden treasure, dig it up and eat it. It was so funny since, as the grey returned with another acorn the black would turn his back on it while continuing to munch the stolen morsel, as if hiding his crime. Upon reflection, I thought the black was probably older than the grey, so more experienced and had learned the trick from others.

    Re control of squirrel numbers, the old farmer way, was to shoot the dreys in the winter while the squirrels are hiding from the bad weather.

  9. #9
    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    Upto September this year 2015 poisoning with Warfarin was allowed.

    Poking the dreys with long sticks in winter, destroys the Dreys, pushes squirels out onto branches where they can be shot & helps identify any new dreys built in summer.
    Most old farmers blow the bottom out of dreys and crow, rook nests. Just Sumat they do.

  10. #10
    Heavenly Creature Ecobob's Avatar
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    Wow so much info, cheers guys, It seems that introducing them has obviously led to an effect on our environment but surely we must admit that, although a mistake, it is one that we will have to put up with being as they are here to stay. should we not just accept them for all their wrong doings. I mean rabbits are not native to the UK either but I don't see them going anywhere.
    At the same time nature normally has a way to deal with overpopulation of species, (if we don't interfere) Admittedly I do like to watch squirrels going about their business,

    Now I'm not going to start standing on sides of the fence and defending their corner or anything , I was just thinking that they are here , technically it's our fault, we made our bed now we must lie in it situation.
    Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.
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    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    There are no Grey squirels on the Isle of Wight, only Red squirels. They once had them on the island, but offered a reward of 25p I think for a grey squirel tail. Many grey squirels here on the mainland died as a result. Unscrupulous people would send the tails over on the ferry and claim the money.

  12. #12
    Heavenly Creature Ecobob's Avatar
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    Have only ever seen reds on the south coast myself in Dorset, but that was a few years ago now.
    Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.

  13. #13
    Transcending
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    Are the reds not still in Scotland?

  14. #14
    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    Yes Reds are in Scotland, it's a stronghold for them.

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    Turning On agrimog's Avatar
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    greys were introduced from north america by the landed gentry who thought they would look good on there large estates, no thought for the indigenous species already here. they are classed as vermin, if you catch one, you are not allowed to release it, it must be killed. they cause untold damage to nursery tree sites by bark stripping, are a bloody nusiance, and carry squirell pox, which although is harmless to them, kills the reds, being a larger species they force out and kill the reds, which are a much nicer breed altogether. If you think greys are fun to watch, you should see 2 or 3 reds playing in a garden, they are much cleveeer than there stupid tree rat cousins, the hillbily americans have the best use for them....its called a stewpot
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    Transcending whitepoppy's Avatar
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    I live near Formby, Southport, where there is a res squirrel reserve. Greys got in, and there's been a massive die off of red squirrels due to the aforementioned pox. Its sad to go there now, you used to be able to feed the reds and there'd be loads, at least ten at a time coming over for buts and things, now there's very few. Your sighting of red squirrel is dead ones that you have to report, and this is in a time span of about five years.

    I agree though that its not the grey squirrel to blame, its humans dicking about with ecosystems they cant begin to comprehend....

    Personally, I like a grey, industrious little buggers that they are, but cant help but feel sorry for the reds. They're like the mild mannered 'hippies' of the tree world, being muscled out constantly
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    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by agrimog
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    If you think greys are fun to watch, you should see 2 or 3 reds playing in a garden, they are much cleveeer than there stupid tree rat cousins, the hillbily americans have the best use for them....its called a stewpot
    Red squirels are less specially aware than the greys. Often forgetting the very spot they buried their nuts, they remember it's aroooouuuunnnnd here somewhere. Good for tree re-growth, but a bummer if you are already competing against the greys for food.
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  18. #18
    Walking back to happiness ma bungo's Avatar
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    I competed against greys all september for food , and lost all the eating apples and plums from my orchard to the bastards. I shot 18 in one week and it hardly touched the size of there ranks .They nick the fruit before its human ripe .
    There seems to have been a plague of them this year in our village , but I think the mild winters of late have helped boost stock . Generally an acre of woodland supports about 6 and they are very territorial, the chewing of trees is to do with boundary marking . We are pretty much surrounded by woodland, hence the plague.
    I don't mind admitting I am on all out war with them and rats ! The squirrels at least you can eat, and if stewed for a long time in red wine with a few mushrooms and shallots, is pretty tasty
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  19. #19
    Radiant Being patchypete's Avatar
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    Still get Red squirrels on Brownsea Island, near Poole in Dorset. Last time I saw a Red in the wild was years ago, when I was a boy walking with my Grandad in the New Forest ...(Just to clarify ......it was me walking with my Grandad and not the Red squirrel )
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  20. #20
    King of Fish. wurzel's Avatar
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    We normally get them here too, eating all our soft fruits.
    This year I got myself a .410 shot gun to help deal with both them and brown rats, but either they know about the gun and aint bothered turning up or maybe it is my lurcher pup tearing around the place has kept them away, the rats on the other hand are back
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  21. #21
    Transcending
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    Its yer lurcher m8. My lads good. The girl is er pretty. Had 1 squirrel in her life. If eva I walk em 1 at a time I see noffin with the lad but plenty wiv the girl. Yours is gona b a killer an the squirrels no.

  22. #22
    journeyman rumpusmany's Avatar
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    my little lurcher pup chases squirrels all over the place,got a big top hat(rat) that marches across the garden most day's,pup hasn't clocked it yet,i'm fully expecting him to wander in the house with it in his mouth when he does cotton on.

  23. #23
    Jesus is not your friend Fire-Tree's Avatar
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    They are my favourite animals!

    Yes, they cause issues to the reds [who are adorable too], yet as ever it was the human that caused the problems initially.
    Seen reds in the wild in a fair few places, mainly Scotland as we know.

    Love them both, really don't like to hear about people shooting them.
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    Radiant Being Sootyfoot's Avatar
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    I hate Squirrels......they cost me a fortune when i lived in Buckinghamshire, near some woods, little buggers get in the loft, burrow around, eat into wires, chew through plastic pipes and flood your house while away on holiday!
    the only good grey squirrel has a few shallots and mushrooms on it in a pan!
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