Can You Shoot Squirrels in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, you will find two kinds of squirrels: red and grey squirrels. Red squirrels are native animals of the UK; the grey squirrels did not come here until the 18th and 19th centuries. Over the years, grey squirrels have taken over… So can you shoot squirrels in the UK or are they all protected?

You can shoot squirrels in the UK if it is a grey one. On the other hand, you cannot shoot a red squirrel. 

The UK has allowed people to shoot grey squirrels because they are invasive pests. Some people also resort to other methods of killing squirrels, such as drowning them, suffocation, poisoning, and electrocution.

For the remainder of this article, where discussing squirrels we are focussing on grey squirrels. Red squirrels should be protected at all costs:

Can You Kill a Squirrel on Your Property?

If a squirrel is on your property, you have permission to kill it. Grey squirrels are not endangered species; hence, you can kill them since they fall under pests. 

A law (section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act) forbids anyone to release grey squirrels in the wild if they enter homes. People have no choice but to keep the squirrel or kill it. 

Are Squirrels Protected?

In the UK, the red squirrel is a protected species. Therefore, it is illegal to kill or injure a red squirrel intentionally. In addition, it is an offence to destroy and damage structures that red squirrels use. The red squirrel is an endangered animal in the UK; hence, the strict laws. You also cannot disturb a red squirrel if it is in its enclosure. 

When it comes to grey squirrels in the UK, the rules are a little different.

The grey squirrel comes into the category of being an invasive, non-native pest in the UK. The increase in the grey squirrel population is the reason why the red squirrel is endangered. This is why grey squirrels are pests that are not protected by law.

Therefore, you are allowed to kill grey squirrels in the UK. 

How to Shoot Squirrels Properly

If you decide to shoot squirrels, you may not get it on the first try. Shooting squirrels is not an easy task. Therefore it is best to read up on it and practice your targets. 

The best approach to shooting squirrels is first figuring out where they show up. Squirrels are most active in the morning, so you may spot some if you are up early. 

Before whipping out your gun and aiming, ensure that you are close to the squirrel. The closer you are, the better your aim will be. It is best to get the deed done in a single shot rather than ten shots, as that is a dangerous approach. 

Take your time and aim for the squirrel’s head. A single shot to the squirrel’s head will be enough to kill it. If the squirrel moves too much, you can put some food down, so it stays still before you shoot it. If you did not shoot the squirrel in the head, you would have to shoot again, so it dies. 

What Are Some Other Ways to Kill Squirrels?

The law in the UK states that one is allowed to kill grey squirrels. The law is a way to control grey squirrels that have become pests in the UK. Apart from shooting, there are other ways to control the grey squirrels. 


If you are not comfortable shooting squirrels, another way to get rid of them is to use poison. You can use poison to control these pests if you do not have any pets. However, if you are a pet owner, using poison may not be the best idea because it may also harm your pet.

The benefit of using poison is that it will do the work for you. You will not need to do anything except place the poison in the area with squirrel activity. For the poison to be effective, it would be great to get one made specifically for squirrels.

The only problem with using poison is that other animals can come across it and consume it.

Snares and Traps

Many people prefer using snares and traps for squirrels. However, the catch with using snares and traps is placing them in the correct location. In addition, there is also the risk of trapping another non-targeted animal. 

However, using traps helps get the deed done fully, without any intervention from your side.


You can shoot squirrels in the UK if it is a grey squirrel. Moreover, you cannot shoot squirrels for the game, and you can only shoot if the squirrel is invasive. The red squirrel is an endangered animal and is protected. It is an offence to kill or injure a red squirrel on purpose.

Moreover, it is also an offence to disturb or damage enclosures that red squirrels use.

On the other hand, you can shoot grey squirrels in the UK as they are pests and non-native. In addition, grey squirrels are not protected in the UK.

If you do not like shooting, you can also poison, lay traps or use live traps to kill squirrels.

4 thoughts on “Can You Shoot Squirrels in the UK?”

  1. Or, alternatively, leave the poor little sods alone. They’re just hungry. Tolerate them. Non-native indeed – they’ve been here 200 years.

    • Unfortunately the problem with that us they are disrupting other local wildlife and whilst it may be a little cruel they have a massive population that is only getting larger and by leaving them you are killing off endangered species

      Generally most would agree saving a declining populous is kinder than leaving a wide spread species to continue overbreeding


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