Squirrels are members of the rodent family. In the UK, there are two species of squirrel, the native Red Squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris, and the non-native Grey Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis, that originated from North America. Since multiple introductions between 1876 and 1929, the grey squirrel has spread rapidly. By out competing the native red squirrel for resources within their habitats and also transmitting the disease Squirrelpox, that is fatal to red squirrels but not greys, the distribution of red squirrels declined drastically.  While only isolated populations now exist in southern and central Britain, they are still widespread in the north of England and in Scotland, although the ingress of grey squirrels is contracting their range here as well.

Where conditions are favourable, grey squirrel densities can become very high. In these areas grey squirrels can cause considerable damage to trees, crops and buildings and other infrastructure. Grey squirrels will also take birds’ eggs and nestlings. Bark stripping by grey squirrels can cause significant economic damage to trees when they are between 10 and 40 years old. This practice occurs from late April until the end of July with sycamore, beech, oak, sweet chestnut, pine, larch and Norway spruce being the most susceptible trees. In urban environments, grey squirrels can cause damage when they access buildings, particularly roof voids, and may even cause fire when they chew electrical wiring.

Grey squirrels can be captured in the UK using both spring traps (kill traps) and live-capture traps (cage traps). However, in areas where both grey and red squirrels exist only cage traps should be used. The PERDIX squirrel cage trap is ideal for use in these areas.  In areas where only grey squirrels exist, trap-choice will depend on trapper experience and location of where the squirrels are being caught. It is important to remember that a captured grey squirrel in cage trap CANNOT be released back into the wild and must be humanely killed by either shooting or cranial destruction. Squirrels should NOT be drowned.  The simple rule is: If you are unwilling to humanely kill a captured grey squirrel, don’t use cage traps.

If set correctly, modern spring traps such as the DoC 150 and DoC 200 and the Large Rodent KORO trap, will kill grey squirrels very quickly and humanely. If you need any further help and guidance regarding grey squirrel control please do not hesitate to contact us.

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