Sciurus

Family Tree



Red Squirrel



Grey Squirrel

Our two squirrel species in the UK are within the Sciurus genus – Skia from the Greek meaning “shadow” and oura meaning “tail”. Our squirrels tend to use their tails as sun-shades, their tails being held over their head whilst feeding or resting.

  • Eurasian Red Squirrel Sciurus vulgaris
  • Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis

The red squirrel was once common and found throughout the UK but its distribution has declined since the introduction of the grey squirrel during the late 19th and early 20th Century. Although there have been accounts of red and grey squirrels fighting, this is a rare occurrence! The main reasons for this decline are that red squirrels lack immunity to a foreign disease (the greys have anti-bodies and can fight this disease) and grey squirrels are more adaptable and outcompete red squirrels for food.



Most breeding occurs in spring and juvenile, independent squirrels can be seen in summer looking for their own home range. In some cases same sex siblings will share a drey and their home ranges will overlap for a while until they reach sexual maturity. Some female squirrels can have a second litter later in the summer but this depends on food availability. Most squirrels however are unlikely to have a second litter.

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