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Pestgon FactSheet

SQUIRREL: (Spermophilus beecheyi)

Ground squirrels are large burrowing rodents with a snub nose and small ears, measuring 9 to 18 inches long including its tail. The fur is brownish gray, speckled off-white striping along the back; the sides of the head and shoulders are light gray to whitish. They are commonly seen above ground throughout California, from the coast to the desert.

Ground squirrels live in a complex 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 group of burrows.

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

In addition to the damage they cause, 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. On 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 effective means of control. Squirrel control procedures are influenced by a number of important factors. Such as, life cycle and behavior, population density, food source as well as public and private perceptions. Pestgon's experienced technicians are very successful at discreetly managing these types of issues.

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Tree Squirrels: