Pestgon FactSheet
“ If they fly they die…if they crawl they fall”

GROUND SQUIRREL (Spermophilus beecheyi)


Description:
Ground squirrels are large burrowing rodents with a snub nose and small ears. It’s body measures 9 to 11 inches long and its semi-bushy tail adds another 5 to 9 inches in length. The fur is brownish gray, speckled with off-white along the back; the sides of the head and shoulders are light gray to whitish. They are commonly seen above ground from the coast to the desert.

Biology:
Ground squirrels live in a burrow system where they sleep, rest, rear young, store food, and avoid danger. Burrow openings are about 4 inches in diameter, but can vary considerably. The burrows may be 5 to 30 feet or more in length and may go 2 to 4 feet below the soil surface. There is usually more than one opening in a burrow system. Ground squirrels live in colonies that may include several dozen animals in a complex of burrows. This squirrel is found throughout southern California except the desert regions.

Economic Impact:
California ground squirrels are one of the most troublesome and destructive pests to commercial property managers. They cause millions of dollars of damage to commercial landscapes and embankments. Ground squirrels damage young shrubs, vines and trees by gnawing bark, girdling trunks and eating twigs and leaves. Burrowing around roots sometimes topples trees. Also, they will gnaw on plastic sprinkler heads and irrigation pipes, causing costly repairs.

Besides being very destructive with their teeth, burrowing can present a serious liability hazard to landscape machinery and pedestrians. Burrowing beneath buildings and other structures can weaken a foundation and necessitate costly repairs. Embankments are left vulnerable to collapse from winter rains when ground squirrels are allowed to burrow in them. Also, ground squirrels can harbor diseases harmful to humans, particularly when squirrel populations are dense. Of major concern is bubonic plague. It is transmitted to humans by fleas carried on the squirrels.

Management Methods:
Baiting, trapping, fumigation and habitat modification are all options. However, Pestgon’s selection of squirrel control procedures is influenced by a number of important factors. Some of these are; the life cycle and behavior of the ground squirrel, the population density, the particular season, the prevalent food source as well as public and private perceptions. Pestgon’s experienced technicians are very successful at managing all sorts of wildlife for commercial property managers.


Additional Links:
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7438.html
Tree Squirrels:
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74122.html