– If you live in an area with red squirrels or with a reintroduction program, please contact the conservation group in your area.
– If you live in an area with only grey squirrels, look on the map to see if there is a grey control project nearby. Otherwise, please consider setting up a community grey control group. Contact us for more information and support.
It is suggested that an inexperienced trapper should read and listen to as much information as possible about trapping and then use a method suitable for the situation. There is no single ‘magic’ technique and adaptations may need to be tried. However, all trapping must be humane and legal.
To view a typical Grey Squirrel Trapping Protocol used by volunteer groups please go to trapping-protocol.
For RSNE Guidelines please go to Grey Squirrel Trapping Guidelines.
For BASC Guidelines please go to Grey Squirrel Control.
Shooting grey squirrels is legal and can be highly effective in reducing numbers both as part of a wider management scheme and for dealing with particular issues.
You will need to:
- have permission from the owner of the sporting rights
- access to a suitable gun and compliance with the law concerning its ownership and use; in gardens an airgun may be the only suitable option
- plan carefully safe shooting angles with a backstop within the area you have permission to shoot
- check you have sufficient third party insurance (we recommend £10 million)
- consider the squirrels’ welfare; you must be a competent shooter so they are killed humanely
- consider a good use for the culled squirrels. Does a local project want them for research? They are perfectly edible by humans or pets such as ferrets
- record what you see and shoot and be ready to provide that information to local projects.
You can find more detailed information on the law, safety and animal welfare at these sites:
Warfarin had been used as a successful grey control poison for the purpose of tree protection in areas where there are no red squirrels. The EU license for the production and sale of Warfarin as a grey squirrel bait ended in September 2014. However, users who had stocks left could use it until September 2015. There is currently no other licensed poison for grey squirrel control.
Fertility Control (Immunocontraception)
Research continues, both internationally and in the UK, to find a suitable method of stopping grey squirrel breeding. Fertility Control could provide a number of benefits because it is non-lethal, humane and publicly acceptable. Although considerable progress has been made, there is a need for a species-specific, oral method of delivery as opposed to an injectable form.
Research is ongoing, especially in the US, to use gene-editing as a means of controlling pests but no solid research is available for developing a suitable technique in the near future.
For further information about grey squirrel control please see: Charles Dutton: The Grey Squirrel Management Handbook, 2016, Published by European Squirrel Initiative.