Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis, Gmelin, 1788)
Origin: Eastern North America
Size: 23 to 30 cm (head and body), 19 to 25 cm (tail)
The Eastern Grey Squirrel, is a medium size tree squirrel. The upperparts can vary from grizzled dark to pale grey with some cinnamon tones on the hips, feet and head; the underparts are grey to buff. The tail is large and fluffy (whitish to pale grey) and the ears are pale grey to white. Melanism (increase of dark pigment in the fur) is common in the northern parts of its native range; melanistic individuals have their fur almost entirely black. This species do no show sexual dimorphism, females and males are alike.
Photo by Guillaume Réthoré
This species is native to the Eastern United States and South of Canada and inhabits mature continuous woodlands where there is a mixture of nuts producing species, they are more common on broadleaf woodlands and can also be found on urban parks. Their diet consists mainly of nuts (acorns, beechnuts and chestnuts), but they also can eat buds, flowers, fruits, seeds, fungi, some insects and occasionally bird eggs. They bury food in winter caches and locate them using both memory and smell.
The Eastern Grey Squirrel was introduced in the United Kingdom in 1870 and spread rapidly across England and became established in Wales and South of Scotland. This species also was introduced in other parts of North America, South Africa, Italy, Norway, Ireland, Netherlands and Australia. In some areas in Europe it is considered an invasive species (nominated one of the 100 worst invaders); they can damage trees by stripping the bark and can cause local extinctions of the Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) through competition and disease.