Ground squirrels are small burrowers found across the United States. While there are different species throughout the country, all ground squirrels share similar features and habits. The rodents disturb crop fields and home gardens with their burrowing habits. Additionally, they constantly chew to control the length of their teeth, which may result in aesthetic and structural damage to manmade buildings.
Similar in appearance to chipmunks, ground squirrels typically measure 12 inches long and weigh little more than 5 ounces. Most ground squirrels are shades of brown or gray and either have stripes or spots along their backs. Unlike their tree-dwelling cousins, ground squirrels generally have short, semi-bushy tails and small ears.
Though they are mostly found in grassy areas such as prairies and meadows, ground squirrels also live near riverbanks, lakeshores and ponds where the soil is favorable for digging. They often congregate in suburban and rural areas and avoid urban centers since they need tall grasses and open spaces to live comfortably. Ground squirrels prefer to set up residences on golf courses, grazing pastures, public parks and lawns when they enter suburban locations. The rodent typically avoids woodland areas.
Are ground squirrels known to enter homes or yards?
Property owners regularly encounter ground squirrels infesting yards, farmlands and gardens. They keep diets prominently featuring the seeds and bulbs of plants, which earns them a notorious reputation with farmers and gardeners. Though they are rarely interested in entering buildings, ground squirrels are capable of making their way inside manmade structures via chimneys, broken window and door screens, vents and other large openings.
Do ground squirrels harm people or property?
While their diet includes several harmful insects and their presence can be considered beneficial, ground squirrels still eat a variety of both cash crops and ornamental plants. Their burrowing leaves holes in the ground that can make mowing difficult, dehydrate tree roots and weaken the foundation of structures. Additionally, ground squirrels can host parasitic ticks, lice, mites and fleas.
Control and Safety
Though fences typically guard against the foraging of crop pests, ground squirrels are adept diggers and often burrow under such barriers. The cost of and time required to effectively employ baits and traps make them unfavorable options. Habitat modification, such as removing brush piles, is the best method of ground squirrel control as it helps limit their hideouts and makes areas less favorable to nesting.
Trapping and Removal
The best way to control and manage ground squirrels is contacting licensed pest professionals. Specialists eradicate populations both humanely and effectively, as well as find ways to keep the rodents from returning. Critter Control technicians have the tools, knowledge and experience to trap and remove ground squirrels in a way that is safe for both the animal and any people involved.
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