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grey squirrel

Grey Squirrels Are Cannibals? The Shocking Truth Behind These Woodland Creatures

The grey squirrel is a beautiful creature. As you might have guessed from its name, grey squirrels are usually grey in colour, with white underbellies. However, some grey squirrels tend to appear browner in colour. Grey squirrels can measure up to 30 centimetres long, and adult grey squirrels weigh up to 1.25 pounds, but this can vary between genders and environment.

Grey squirrels can be found across the world. You’ll observe them in parks around North America, Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, and various parts of Europe. A grey squirrel habitat is found in areas that boast deciduous trees, like oaks, elms, and beech trees. The squirrels use dried plants and other matter to make nests in holes of the trees high up near the branches. This keeps them safe from predators, and it makes it easier for them to camouflage themselves for protection.

Grey squirrels can be easily identified by their bushy tails, which can appear just as large as their bodies! They’re not just for show, however. Grey squirrels can use their large tails in a variety of ways; from shielding themselves from the rain to keeping themselves warm in the winter, these little rodents are protected. Grey squirrels also have teeth that never stop growing during their lifespan, so they tend to gnaw on wood and other hard materials to file them down to a manageable size.

Grey squirrel lifespan

The grey squirrel lifespan can vary although common estimates find them living up to five years if they live in the wild. This is due to harsh weather conditions and a variety of predators. However, if grey squirrels are kept in captivity, many have been known to live up to ages of 20 or more.

When do grey squirrels have babies?

Grey squirrels have breeding seasons twice a year.

These generally last from December to February and May to June. The mating season is very noticeable due to several circumstances.  Several males will court a female, and the mating period begins with a chase through the trees at high speeds. The female will then choose the male she perceives as the strongest. Because of this selection process, females will rarely breed with the same male squirrel again.

The gestation period for mother grey squirrels is around 44 days, meaning their entire pregnancy lasts less than two months. The average number of grey squirrels born from one pregnancy can range from two to six babies. The babies weigh less than an ounce at birth and are born without hair and without the ability to see.

What do grey squirrels eat?

Grey squirrels have an extremely varied diet. They will eat everything from flower bulbs to birdseed, and anything you can think of in between. You might have heard that grey squirrels eat birds’ eggs, which may lead you to ask “Are grey squirrels carnivorous?

The answer to this is twofold: grey squirrels are omnivores, meaning they eat both plant-based items and animal products. Like many other squirrel species, grey squirrels love to eat nuts. From acorns to walnuts, beechnuts to hickory nuts, if they find it, they’ll eat it. They also love fruits; grey squirrels have been known to chow down on apples, berries, and grapes. As they are scavengers, grey squirrels find nutrition from a variety of other sources that you might not expect. They will eat fungi, flower blossoms, roots, and more.

The rumours are true about grey squirrels eating other animals. If given the opportunity, this species will eat insects of all sizes, young birds, bird eggs, and amphibians like frogs and toads. In a more gruesome diet choice, grey squirrels have been seen eating their own kind, meaning they are cannibalistic.

Grey squirrel as a pet

So you might be a little turned off by the fact that grey squirrels eat other animals, but they are not exempt from this part of nature. The grey squirrel faces a multitude of predators, including birds like hawks and owls, other animals like racoons and foxes, and even domesticated house cats and dogs.

The Daily Life Of A Grey Squirrel

Many people wonder if grey squirrels hibernate, but this is not the case. They do tend to be less active in winter. Throughout the year, they are mostly active in the early morning and late evening and their waking hours are usually spent foraging for food. Their foraging efforts don’t go without their benefits. We should be very grateful for these little furry friends, as they play a huge part in reforestation efforts. Because they gather so many nuts and dig holes to bury them in the ground, squirrels will occasionally forget to dig them up or be unable to due to predators and movement. Those seeds and nuts that remain often buried  grow up to become trees.

Grey Squirrels As Pets

Before you start looking for grey squirrels for sale, you should make sure you understand the necessities and costs that will come along with an animal usually only found the wild. Many are against the keeping of squirrels as pets, as they believe it is inhumane to keep a wild creature in captivity. You must check with state and local laws on your right to keep a squirrel of any kind as a pet. Once you have the approval, you will need a cage and proper habitat materials.

The cage must be large enough for a squirrel to move around, and the squirrel must be able to spend a large portion of the day outside of a cage. Many of those who already do own squirrels have claimed them to be very affectionate. Another question you may have: Do grey squirrels carry diseases? Those in the wild, like any other wild animal, may have contracted a disease, but this is no more common in grey squirrels than in various other animals.