Gray Squirrel

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Gray Squirrel, Vancouver Island, BC
Gray Squirrel, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

The gray squirrel was first introduced to Vancouver Island about 25 years ago and has spread across the southern Island since then. They are now starting to show up on the North Island. It is larger than the red or Douglas Squirrels and is usually gray or black in color. They sometimes will be almost black with a light color tail.

This species defends no territory, and they pretty much go where they please. The native Vancouver Island squirrels spend a lot of energy guarding their territories against the gray squirrel, thereby reducing their success in gathering winter food.

They are opportunistic omnivores, eating vegetable foods most of the time. They are said to consume the eggs & young of birds, but there is some doubt as to whether they do more harm in this than the native red squirrel.

Gray squirrels are known to build leaf platforms on branches of trees during summer, where they like to sit and watch the world go by.

Dusky Shrew, Vancouver Island, BC
Gray Squirrel, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

When you are in Victoria, you should make a trip to Beacon Hill Park, the gray squirrels there are quite friendly and will eat right out of your hand. I was there a few years back, before my knee operation ( had a total knee replacement) and had one run up my leg and sit on the top of my leg brace, as he sat there eating my offers of treats, I heard the clicking of many cameras. I look at where the sounds were coming from and saw that a tour bus had just let a large group of young Asian girls off the bus and they were all taking photos of this dear little squirrel. I would suspect that he is quite famous in their home country now.

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