The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Grey Squirrel

Afrikaans name: Gryseekhoring

Grey Squirrel

Grey Squirrel

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Sciurus carolinensis

The Grey Squirrel is an invasive species that originates from the USA. It has been introduced into a number of countries such as England, Ireland and Italy where it has displaced indigenous species such as the European Red Squirrel. This squirrel was introduced into South Africa by Cecil Rhodes who obviously felt that his Cape Town estate lacked wildlife. In South Africa it has only established itself in the South-western Cape where the climate is more to its liking.

The Grey Squirrel can reach a length of 48 cm including its tail. Females are slightly bigger than males. They are largely grey in colour but are whitish underneath. Their tails are particularly bushy. They eat a variety of foods including fruit, acorns, pine seeds, bark, flowers and even birds’ eggs.

Grey Squirrels tend to breed twice a year. Each litter may consist of 1 to 4 young with occasional litters of 8 young being recorded. The young squirrels are called kits. The young leave the nest at an age of around 12 weeks.

Numerous predators’ prey on these squirrels. These include birds of prey, owls, cats, dogs and even us humans.

References and further reading

Chris and Tilde Stuarts Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 1st Edit - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1988 - Page: 90

Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 2001 - Page: 90

Land Mammals of Southern Africa - A field guide - Author: Reay HN Smithers - Published: 1986 - Page: 66

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 89

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 26


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List of South African Mammals

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