Damn Yankees: Squirrel Division

A British Red Squirrel

While I was living in London, I began to notice the prevailing opinion that the American gray squirrel was responsible for the shrinking population of native English squirrels. There were newspaper articles, radio and TV programs, all asserting that some neglectful person brought the American squirrel over, and since then they were edging out the native red squirrels.

Often the new world squirrels would be compared to the British ones as “fat,” “aggressive,” and “gluttons.” Once, an article even said American squirrels were “murdering” the English squirrels!

In other words, as was said of American GI’s during WWII, the American squirrels were “overfed, oversexed, and over here.”

I decided to defend my fellow, uh, countrymen. I went to the local library and checked out every squirrel book it had. Every single one made these same claims. Except for one book, much to my relief. It explained that the reason English squirrels were dying out was that man had felled most of its habitat. It can only eat coniferous nuts (like pine nuts), and these forests had mostly been destroyed in the UK.

Whereas, of course, the American squirrels could eat anything: bagels, chicken, popcorn, you name it. No wonder “we” were taking over! Armed with my research, I went to an anti-American squirrel protest that advocated “execution” of the “murderers.” I discussed my findings. I wrote letters to editors. I was a one-person PR campaign.

Alas, the controversy continues, with the House of Lords debating the need for an “Eat a grey, save a red” campaign. So to my fellow Americans I say this: When you travel in Britain, try to blend in, don’t gorge yourself, and be nice to the natives.


2 thoughts on “Damn Yankees: Squirrel Division

  1. Evening Vicki!

    And yet ANOTHER wonderful post!

    This was SOOOO interesting.

    Thank you for investigating this tale further!!!

    I happen to worship squirrels. I feed them every single Sunday afternoon
    (bagels, popcorn, chicken) tee-hee….no… only peanuts!

    You know….it always amazes me how many English citizens I meet, who find FAULT with the U.S.

    And now….SQUIRRELS too????

    It also amazes me how MANY of the English citizens…long to LIVE here.

    Go figure????

    Anyway…..this American is now going to go to the kitchen….and GORGE himself!!

    Much thanks for this post!

    Be well,

  2. Hey Vicki.

    Sitting here listening to Daphne DuMaurier’s ‘The Birds’ on the radio. Appropriate what?

    So to quote Wikipedia (well it must be true)

    ‘Under 140,000 individuals are thought to be left, approximately 85% of which are in Scotland. This population decrease is likely to be due to the introduction of the eastern grey squirrel from North America as well as the loss and fragmentation of its native woodland habitat.’


    So those damn yankee squirrels have been terrorising (ooops can I say that) our poor dear red squirrel.

    Of course it is likely that the ‘greys’ (overtones of ET) were introduced by Brits in the first place. We seem to have a record of success on this front. Look at Australia – cats, cane toads, rats to name just a few!

    Anyway just off to fire up the BBQ, get the gun and pot me some (grey) squirrel kebabs. Enjoy.


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