Gray Squirrels on the Coastside?


Posted by on Mon, October 25, 2010

I grew up in Palo Alto / Menlo Park area and was used to seeing Gray Squirrels almost daily.  They would strip our walnut and almond trees, chew the telephone and electric lines, and to this day wreak havoc in general on the peninsula.

I moved to the Coast in 1986, and hadn’t seen a single Gray Squirrel until a few days ago, running along the top of my fence in my yard here in Montara. Has anyone else seen them around?  Have they been here all the time and I’ve just missed seeing them?

Looking forward to hearing what local folks have to say.


Comment 1
Mon, October 25, 2010 1:19pm
Deb Wong
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Grey squirrels were part of the landscape in Redwood City, where I lived for almost 30 years. However, I grew up in Pacifica, and never saw them there.  3 years ago, I saw two grey squirrels in Pacifica, which was as surprising as seeing deer in Pacifica. I guess the critters are heading out to the coast….

Bruce and Deb, squirrels over the years have adapted to a more urban environment (think fuzzy rats) where larger vermin like raccoons, opossums, and skunks have been eliminated. There have always been squirrels on the coastside but larger animals have kept their numbers down. The rise in squirrel sightings on the coastside can be attributed to a fall in the number of larger vermin who have filled that particular niche in our environment. Just another sign that our community is becoming more urbanized.

Comment 3
Mon, October 25, 2010 1:42pm
Barry Parr
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Of course, the Coastside was pretty much treeless a hundred years ago—and is still surrounded by wide swath of chaparral.  But you’d think the squirrels would have followed the people and their trees.

Comment 4
Mon, October 25, 2010 1:47pm
Deb Wong
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Hmmm, interesting.  I guess the raccoons are too busy hanging around here in MB with the skunks to bother with Montara’s gray squirrels!

Comment 5
Mon, October 25, 2010 3:46pm
Carl May
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Neighbor Bruce, When we first moved here over 10 years ago and I recall never seeing any squirrels on the coast. Then I started seeing a few in the back parts of Montara. But lately I have seen them closer to main st.

Naughty squirrels in Woodside robbed the vegetables,  flower heads, and even ate all the new shoots of the ornamental bamboo.  I was thrilled they weren’t here in Moss Beach when I moved here in ‘97.  Hope they don’t come round now.

Comment 8
Mon, October 25, 2010 9:18pm
Emily Berk
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Saw a grey squirrel in my neighbor’s plum tree a few weeks ago.  It’s the first squirrel of any kind I’ve ever seen on the coast.  In Moss Beach.

Comment 9
Tue, October 26, 2010 3:45am
Deb Wong
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Years ago, I used to take the bus from Redwood City to Palo Alto.  There is a field that you cross when going to University Avenue.  When entering that field, I saw that it was overrun with squirrels of all colors - red, gray, black, and even two white ones.  They can look cute singly, but in numbers, can be downright creepy.  They also have the potential for spreading diseases.

I’ve been a Coastsider since 1983 and was surprised to see squirrels down at Point Lobos about 15 years ago. Then about 10 years ago, they started showing up near the very top of the El Granada Highlands. At first, sightings were very rare, but now a day doesn’t go by when I don’t see or hear at least one. There are some pine tree clusters up here that appear to attract them. The little critters chatter like crazy and really go to town on the pine cones.

If only we could breed a variation that devoured eucalyptus!

We moved here in 1999 and I definitely noticed the lack of squirrels (I grew up in the Midwest, where they are _everywhere_).

In the past year or so we’ve definitely started to see them. One who lives on our property actually throws branches down at us as we walk by!

There are still plenty of raccoons and possibly even more deer than ever before. There’s a fox who now makes a daily trek across the deck, too. However it seems like we hear fewer coyotes - maybe that’s why the others are now so bold?

I live in the Pillar Point Mobile Home park in a location against the bluffs. We’ve had two grey squirrels as regular visitors to our yard for the last several months. Sorry Lisa :)

I live on Farallone Ave and we’ve had squirrels visiting us here for 3 or 4 years.  There are 2 and sometimes 3 squirrels that come around and rest on the top our fence and chase each other around the trees. It makes for a great park-like setting.  My daughter loves watching them play and so do I.  I do believe that someone must be feeding them because we find lots of walnut shells in our yard opened and whole ones buried.