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National Wildlife Control Training Program vol. 1.

California Ground Squirrel Control

California Ground squirrel. Photo by Univ. of CA IPMScientific Name: Spermophilus beecheyi

California Ground Squirrel Photo Credits: Used with permission from Univ. of CA. Statewide IPM Project

 

Biology

  • Diurnal
  • Primarily vegetarian
  • Have low free-standing water requirements--they can easily live on metabolic water and moisture from vegetation. They can survive on very dry rangeland sites with no available water and no rain for 4-6 months. When they drink water, their consumption is estimated at 30-50 ml/day.
  • Hoards and caches food
  • True hibernator
  • Average 7 young per year--born in mid-April. Young emerge from den in mid-May.

Signs

California Ground squirrel hole. Photo by Dallas Virchow
  • Easily recognizable due to their foraging activity.
  • ground squirrel burrow Description: shows 2 to 3 inch wide burrow in close mown grass< Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow

Damage

  • Will eat bird eggs
  • Can significantly depletes the forage for livestock
  • Consumes all grains, and a wide variety of other crops, such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts, apples, apricots, peaches, prunes, oranges, tomatoes, alfalfa, sugar beets, beans, and peas.
  • Trees damaged through gnawing

Control Methods

Habitat Modification

  • Squirrels can be excluded from buildings with the same techniques used to exclude commensal rats (see Rodent-proof Construction and Exclusion Methods). Use sheet metal cylinders around tree trunks to prevent loss of fruit or nut crops.
  • Otherwise fencing is not often practical.
  • Disc tilling

Repellents

  • Limited effectiveness

Trapping

  • Very effective Modified pocket gopher trapfor medium to small populations
  • Modified box, pocket gopher traps have been very effective.
  • Baits include Doritos®, spicy version.

Shooting

  • Rarely practical or safe.

Toxicants

  • A number of formulations are available

University Publications

Ground Squirrels in the News

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