Ground Squirrels

Ground squirrels live mainly in natural meadows and grasslands but are adaptive to alfalfa, irrigated pastures, the margins of fields including levees and roadways, and landscaped areas

Ground squirrels are basically herbivores. They sometimes will consume eggs of small ground nesting birds such as quail. Ground squirrels feed almost exclusively on green vegetation when they emerge from hibernation and throughout their gestation and lactation period.

The gopher feeds extensively on the leaves, stems, and seeds of wild and cultivated grasses; however, the diet is heavily slanted toward succulent vegetation rather than seeds. They also consume flowers, stems, leaves and roots of herbaceous plants, depending on its habitat.

Ground squirrels dig burrows for shelter and safety. The burrow systems are occupied year after year and are extended in length and complexity annually. Each system has numerous entrances which are always left open and never plugged with soil. A number of squirrels may occupy the same burrow system ground squirrels are considered serious agricultural pests where they are found in moderate to high densities adjacent to susceptible crops or home gardens. They have also been implicated in the transmission of certain diseases to people, notably plague.

Ground squirrel burrowing activity weakens levees, ditch banks, and earthen dams, and undermines roadways and buildings. Burrows can also result in loss of irrigation water by unwanted diversions, and in natural habitats they may cause accelerated soil erosion by channeling rain and snow runoff.

Burrow entrances in playgrounds, parks and other recreational areas are responsible for debilitating falls, occasionally resulting in sprained or broken ankles or limbs. The same applies to horse exercising or jumping arenas, equestrian trails and tracks where the burrows can lead to serious injuries to horse and rider.

Under favorable conditions, the ground squirrel reaches incredible densities, often exceeding 100/acre. Extensive losses may be experienced in range forage, irrigated pastures, alfalfa, wheat, oats, barley and rye. Ground squirrels also cause considerable damage to their crops such as vineyards where they can destroy vines and cause considerable equipment damage.

Contact Info

ABOL Rodent Control
P.O. Box 1876
Lodi, CA 95241
VentureStreet Business Network