Okanagan's Most Wanted

The Eastern Grey Squirrel and The Yellow Flag Iris

What are invasive species?

Invasive species are a type of animal or plant that is not native to the area it is living in. That means that it came from a different habitat and is now negatively impacting the environment it is living in. Invasive species could carry a disease, kill other native species or they could be toxic to other animals.

Eastern Grey Squirrel

The Eastern Grey Squirrel, also known as the Grey Squirrel or by its scientific name Sciurus Carolinesis, is all over North America and Europe. They are found in Kelowna and West Kelowna. You can see them in city parks and forests. They were brought to Stanley Park in 1909 and to a game farm on Vancouver Island in 1966. They like to live where there are lots of trees. The most recent sighting of the Grey Squirrel in Kelowna was on June 15, 2012. They can grow up to 50cm long and they can weigh up to 1 pound. Their tail and ears are very fluffy. Their fur can be grey and white or all black. They eat nuts, acorns and seeds.

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Each squirrel has at least 2 litters a year. The squirrels can spread very quickly because they are really good at living with people and they can adapt to cold or warm weather. These squirrels can do a lot of damage like stopping the population of the European Red Squirrel. They can carry disease, they can compete with mice and voles and destroy birds nests. Trees and vines may not produce as well because the squirrels chew up the bark. To stop the Eastern Grey Squirrel from spreading you have to tell people to not feed them, keep compost and garbage covered and use squirrel proof bird feeders. Only some authorized people can trap , euthanize or shoot them.
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The Eastern Gray Squirrel

Yellow Flag Iris

The Yellow Flag Iris, also known as the Iris pseudacorus, first came to North America from Europe in the 1800s as an ornamental plant for a garden or pond. The plant came to Canada in 1911and was seen in Ontario in 1940. The iris has showy yellow flowers, 3 sepals that curve backwards, 3 petals pointing upwards and long sword-like leaves. The plant can reach a height of 1.5 metres tall.
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The Yellow Flag Iris likes to live in wetlands like ditches, marshes, lakes, shallow ponds and shorelines. It reproduces quickly when the seeds disperse in the wind or water. The plant can block irrigation canals and flood control ditches. The plant can also take over animals habitats, threaten local ecosystems and sicken livestock if livestock eat it. It can be difficult to stop the spread of the Yellow Flag Iris. You have to dig it out by hand or remove all flowers and seed heads. People are encouraged to plant other alternatives like the Iris Louisiana mix, True Blue or Yellow Water Lily.

Yellow Flag Iris Ineresting facts

The Yellow Flag Iris is native to Europe, Great Britain, North Africa and the Mediterranean region. The natives used the leaves for weaving baskets. The word "iris" is Greek for rainbow and "flag" means rush or reed. The Yellow Flag Iris can be dangerous if eaten. The flowers bloom May to July. The French have the iris on their country's flag. It is a beautiful flower, but the Yellow Flag Iris can be a deadly beauty.
Yellow Flag Iris
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