This Eastern grey squirrel was spotted Sunday in Qualicum Beach. The animal is considered an invasive species on Vancouver Island

Grey squirrels invading Island habitats

Eastern grey is an exotic species in B.C. and should be reported

This squirrel is a bit of a bad nut.

As the eastern grey squirrel continues to expand its territory up Island, wildlife photographer Mike Yip took a picture of the critter last week at Qualicum Beach. He’s seen the squirrel in the area several times over the years, but points out that it’s invasive and a detriment to native species such as the red squirrel and other small mammals and birds.

Gail Wallin, executive director of the Invasive Species Council of B.C., said the eastern grey squirrel is particularly well-established on Vancouver Island around Duncan and south.

“This is actually a fairly aggressive squirrel. Its population can grow and it will displace the native squirrel population, so it’s a concern in a lot of areas,” she said.

The eastern grey is larger than the red squirrel and so it can out-compete for food and habitat.

“The grey squirrel is a bigger critter, highly productive and a voracious eater, so you take those characteristics together and the little red squirrel doesn’t have the same ability to compete,” Wallin said.

The B.C. Ministry of Environment classifies the eastern grey squirrel as an exotic species and a ‘Schedule C’ animal that may be captured or killed without a hunting licence at any time, anywhere in B.C.

The eastern grey squirrel is twice the size of the red squirrel, has a bushier tail and ranges from grey to black in colour.

Wallin said it’s worthwhile to report sightings at www.reportinvasives.ca.

“Keep your eyes out for things that are different in your area is so vital,” she said. “We can all be spotters and reporters in our local neighbourhood because we know our neighbourhood best.”

NEWS Staff

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: City of Parksville announces gradual re-opening plan

Sports courts and playgrounds to open June 5

Search and rescue crews help locate 62-year-old Nanoose Bay mountain biker

RCMP: Man got lost on trail and did right thing by calling for assistance

RCMP: Parksville cyclist hurt after being clipped by passing vehicle

59-year-old man suffered minor injuries; driver failed to stop

COVID-19: RDN utility bills in the mail, deadline extended

Residents given until Sept. 8 to settle accounts

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Man found dead in his tent at Island homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Most Read