Saturday, January 05, 2008


Sciurus carolinensis. Or the Tree Rat.

I'm no fan of the American "Eastern Gray Squirl", and was very disappointed to see one in the garden for the first time yesterday morning - must be all those seeds I put out for the birds.

The Grey Squirrel was introduced to the UK at the turn of the last century, so its been here a little over 100 years.
The carolinensis specific name by the way is a reference to Carolina, where the species was first observed AND recorded scientifically. There are still TOO MANY of these pests in that state in America!

The real problem with Grey Squirls is their competition with our (much nicer) Reds. Fitter, stronger, and not seemingly affected by the squirrel Parapox virus (which they carry), unlike our Reds, we have a real battle on our hands with these chaps. The front line is somewhere around Dundee at present.

Should we cull them? Well, I personally think we should try. But it would have to be done incredibly systematically and thoroughly, and I fear very possibly it might well be futile.
It would be like trying to cull rats.
Exactly like that.
Our only hope is an effective parapox vaccine....
I'm afraid our Reds have a bleak future....

I should apologise about the quality of the 2 photo's here - taken from inside, through dirty double glazing, in poor light.
I'll save the better photo's for our Reds!

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