Ground Squirrel

Pest: Ground Squirrel (Spermophilius beecheyi)

Pest Type: Vertebrate Pests

ground squirrel

Major Identifying Features: Their body measures 9-11 inches and tail adds another 5-9 inches, their fur is brownish gray and speckled with off white along the back, one species in California has a dark triangular-shaped patch on its back, they live in burrows

Life Cycle: Ground squirrels live in a variety of natural habitats, but prefer dry areas and open spaces, populations can be high in grazed rangelands, around buildings, crop borders, etc. Ground squirrels live in burrows where they sleep, rest, rear young, store food, and hide from danger. Burrow openings are about 4 inches in diameter. Ground squirrels live in colonies that include several dozen animals in a complex of burrows. Ground squirrel breed once a year from December to April

Pest Rating: Moderate

Management Rating: Moderate

Host/Season/Outbreak Information: Ground squirrels are active during the day, from midmorning through the late afternoon, especially on warm sunny days. They hibernate during cold winter months and go into estivation during hot summer months (resting period)

Damage Information: Ground squirrels damage many food-bearing and ornamental plants, especially nut and fruit trees. They also like to eat seedlings and chew on sprinkler heads and irrigation lines. They can harbour diseases harmful to humans (plague)

Management Options: Ground squirrels can be killed legally by fumigation, baiting, trapping, and poisoning, dogs might be a good natural control mechanism to keep them off property

Sources:

http://www.ipm.ucanr.edu

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