For UK nature conservationists they are a bete noir, for most people who walk in Greenwich Park and stop to feed them, they are delight. Am must admit I have conflicting feelings about the grey squirrel. One part of me goes ‘Terminator’ and reaches for the imaginary shotgun and the other remembers the joy of children feeding them.
The Squirrels are the only mammals I am likely to find clambering over my two trees. their has been a drey in the London plane (another non-native) tree next to the Horse Chestnut (another non-native) since I can remember. I caught these two chasing one another around the street. Was it territorial or just pure joy? Who knows but they rushed across the street and, deftly climbed the Horse Chestnut and disappeared into the leave cover.
Grey Squirrels are everywhere in England. They are a serious threat to our ‘native’ Red Squirrel. The inverted commas is deliberate because most of our native Red Squirrels as I understand it where actually introduced back in the 19th Century!!!
The question of invasive species is complex. Is it the grey squirrels fault that some ‘mad’ man years ago, encountering them in a New England forest, thought – ‘what a delightful creature.’ And brought back to blighty. The rest is history. Most people would send them packing back to the US and Canada, as I know the North Americans would willing do with House sparrows and Starlings. You might like my slightly ironic Reflections of a sedum fetishist – a little note on my encounters with American nature people and their attitude to European invasive species!