The common squirrels that cause the most conflicts with humans include the Western Grey Squirrel, the Eastern Grey Squirrel, the Douglas’ Squirrel, the Northern Flying Squirrel, the California Ground Squirrel and Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel. The Squirrel family isn’t limited to just the tree, ground and flying squirrels, it also includes some chipmunks, woodchucks, marmots and prairie dogs. Squirrels have 4 incisors in the front of their mouths that they use to gnaw, shred, and break into all sorts of things (wood, egg shells, nuts, berries, seeds, metals, etc).
In Southern Oregon, the California ground squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi) and the Western Gray Squirrel (Sciurus griseus) are the most common.
California Ground Squirrel
The California Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi) can cause considerable damage to property, landscaping and gardens. Burrowing under concrete patio slabs, under foundation walls, weakening retaining walls and eating shoots and plants, are some of the many problems associated with the California Ground Squirrel.
Once the squirrels get into a home they can also cause damage to walls, insulation, piping, wires and roofing materials. Generally, the California Ground Squirrel will enter a home in search of food or shelter. Bird seed, dog food, boxed foods and practically any edibles will be open game.
Control can be difficult as they are sometimes in great numbers and their burrows can be quite deep. Their burrows may range anywhere from 2 to 5 feet deep and may be as long as 35 feet in length.
Life Cycle of the California Ground Squirrel
California Ground Squirrels will leave off hibernating from mid January to the end of February. The male is usually the first to emerge from the burrow in search of food and water. The female ground squirrels will emerge sometime in the next 1 to 2 weeks depending on weather conditions. Mating begins not long after the females leave the burrows with the young being born within a 4 week period from mating. Mating and reproduction can last well into April in our area with each paring producing only one litter. Heavy feeding will begin for the males and females shortly after mating is over. After the young are old enough to leave the burrow, which is usually 6 to 8 weeks after they are born, they too will begin eating to start building up their winter stores.
Controlling Ground Squirrels
As we mentioned before, the California Ground Squirrel can cause extensive damage to property. Controlling them can at times be difficult, due to the numbers reached within one burrow, and the area of coverage.
One area can have several burrows and the squirrels will take advantage of sheds, rock retaining walls and open fields. Cattle pasturage is also good habitat for ground squirrels due to easy access to water and food sources. There are many different ways to try to control the populations, lethal traps, live cage traps, baiting and other measures have been used with varied success. Each method has its benefits and downfalls.
Squirrel Removal and Trapping
California ground squirrels are not a protected species in Oregon, so trapping is not regulated. There are various traps available for capturing squirrels. For removal services call us today at 541-659-4423.