Many Californians are familiar with the hosts of wildlife that taken have up residency around our homes year round. Perhaps one of the most commonly seen are the California ground squirrel. You can find them foraging in parks for food left behind by humans after a picnic or BBQ. They frequent parks and neighborhoods where food is easy to come by and have gotten smarter over the years. These cute little bushy tailed creatures might be mistaken for a fox squirrel at first glance, but don’t be fooled. Adult fur coats come in a mix of gray to light brown with a band of darker colored fur from their heads down the middle of their backs. Their bodies measure to about a foot long with an almost 6 inch long, bushy tail. As with most ground squirrels, the California Ground Squirrel lives in burrows they excavate themselves. Unlike ground squirrels in colder climates that hibernate through the Winter months, here in the warmer climates of Southern California they don’t fully go into hibernation. In fact, December is their breeding season, meaning we see ground squirrel activity year round.
Damage Caused By California Ground Squirrels
California Ground Squirrels feed on insects, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. However, when food is scarce such as in the Winter months, they may resort to feeding on tree or other plant roots. This is a cause for concern for many homeowners. One simple way to identify whether you have a squirrel problem is damage to trees from gnawing, holes in the ground or signs of foraging activity in your garden. Squirrels alike are hoarders and tend to take more than what’s immediately needed to survive. They not only damage trees and vegetation but wreak havoc on lawns as well which causes safety risks. Be sure to check your yard for holes in the ground before mowing or trimming vegetation to avoid injury from ground collapse, or a twisted ankle. They build their burrows in yards, parks, meadows or any other place they find suitable to survive. Their burrows are small 2-3 inch wide holes in the ground. Unlike other ground burrowing rodents, the ground squirrel typically does not leave a mound of dirt around their opening. They are prey animals and prefer to stay hidden from lurking predators, ground cover offers that sense of security.
Rodent & Wildlife Inspection, Control, Removal & More in San Bernardino, Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside & San Diego Counties, California
Squirrels not only cause damage to our yards, they are known vectors for diseases such as Tularemia, Chagas’ disease and bubonic plague which can be transferred to yards or people by the fleas they carry in their coats. The most effective method in controlling a California ground squirrel problem for small to medium populations is trapping and habit modifications. Animal Pest Management is experienced in all forms of ground squirrel control. If you have a ground squirrel problem around your home, or if you have questions regarding ground squirrels, call our office today.