California Ground Squirrel


squirelling nutsGround squirrels are easily identified as they seek food above the ground near their burrows. The ground squirrel measures 9 to 11 inches plus another 5 to 9 inches with its bushy tail.  They usually stay within 75 feet of their burrow, and when frightened, they will retreat into their burrow.  Their burrows are about 4 inches in diameter and, unlike gophers, are open.  They can be 5 to 30 feet in length and between 2 to 4 feet deep.

Ground squirrels can be very destructive and damage many ornamental plants and fruit trees.  Ground squirrels will enter gardens and devour vegetables and may damage young shrubs and trees by gnawing bark, eating twigs and leaves, and burrowing around roots. Ground squirrels will gnaw on plastic sprinkler heads and irrigation lines, causing costly repairs.

Their open burrows can be destructive. Their burrows and mounds make it difficult to mow, and they present hazards to machinery, adults, children, and pets.  Their burrows can divert and carry off irrigation water and lead to soil erosion and embankments can collapse from winter rains.  Burrows around trees and shrubs can damage the roots, and sometimes topple trees. Burrows beneath buildings and other structures oftentimes requires repair.

Ground squirrels can transmit diseases harmful to humans, particularly when there is a large squirrel population.  A major concern is bubonic plague transmitted to humans by fleas carried on the squirrels. Do not handle dead squirrels under these circumstances.

Squirrel Control

There are several factors in the control of ground squirrels.  The safety of children, adults, and pets is paramount.  The squirrel population is considered in the method of control.  Where is the squirrel infestation located?  What are the surrounding geographical conditions?  What season is it?   Once a control procedure is evaluated, we will determine which control method will be most effective.  Control may consist of multiple feed baits, subsoil fumigants, and/or bait boxes.  If you are in an area with a heavy squirrel population from an adjacent area, bait boxes may be your best solution.  We do offer maintenance programs using squirrel bait boxes.  This has proven very successful in controlling large populations.


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