Red and Grey Squirrels – The differences
Red Squirrels Sciurus vulgaris
Grey Squirrels Sciurus carolinensis
Reds – Coat and tail normally red but can vary from wheaten to dark brown. Grows characteristic ear tufts in winter.
Greys – Tail has an outer fringe of white or silver hairs. Coat generally silver-grey but can be other colours including reddish-brown which can lead to mis-identification. The tail is key.
Reds – Europe, Siberia, Mongolia and Northwest China.
Greys – Eastern North America.
Reds – Fewer than 287,000 in the UK.
Greys – Estimates of 2.7 million in the UK.
Reds – Protected under the UK’s Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Priority species in the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework. Classed as near-threatened in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Greys – Classed as an invasive non-native species in the UK and an invasive alien species in Europe.
Reds – Competition from invasive non-native grey squirrels; diseases, especially squirrel pox spread by grey squirrel; habitat destruction; traffic accidents and predators.
Greys – Road traffic accidents and predators.
Reds – 18-24 cm
Greys – 24-29 cm
Reds – 17-18 cm
Greys – 19-24 cm
Reds – 280-330g
Greys – 400-650g