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The Ground Squirrels Disappeared and Now They Are Back

Where did the ground squirrels go?



Last week it looked like the neighboring ranch was raising ground squirrels and this week there are no squirrels to be found. The neighbor isn't treating for those nasty diggers, so where did the ground squirrels go?

Blame it on Hibernation or Estivation

The squirrels didn't actually disappear; California ground squirrels may go dormant two times a year.

Hibernation - when most of us think of hibernation, bears come to mind. In California, like some bears, ground squirrels usually hibernate during the winter. If the weather is mild, like in Southern California, they may skip hibernating. The amount of time spent underground varies. Some emerge from their burrows at the end of January and others wait until March. Often the male ground squirrels emerge 10 to 14 days before the females. 

Estivation is like hibernation but in the summer time. When it is a super hot or dry time, the ground squirrels typically stay in their burrows until temperatures ar…
Recent posts

Dogs, Cats & Ground Squirrel Hunting

Looking for the perfect gift to show your love on Valentine's Day? 
This kind of sweetie isn't impressed with a sappy heart-shaped card and flowers. They also, absolutely adore you, love to cuddle and are always happy to see you. 
You know what they want - your undivided attention. There's also nothing like a new squeak toy, rawhide bone or fresh catnip to say I love you!



One of the super cool things about your relationship with these furry loved ones, is that they enjoy surprising you with gifts - and it doesn't even have to be your birthday or Valentine's Day! They see you tripping in those ground squirrel holes and struggling to catch those destructive burrowing rodents. They want to please you, so you may find a ground squirrel or two at your door step.

Below is a surprise that we received on Ground Hog's Day. What does it mean when the  ground hog can't see its shadow, because it's dead?!! Oh, this isn't a ground hog, it's a ground squirrel. No…

No Ground Squirrels Under the Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, is that a Squirrel I See?


A ground squirrel as a Christmas gift? 

Farmers, ranchers and groundskeepers would be thrilled! Imagine them trapping ground squirrels and selling them at roadside stands. They'd dress them up in little squirrel sweaters, hats and mittens - hoping to make up for all of the losses they've incurred due to the ground squirrels destroying their crops and land. 

Don't start knitting those squirrel mittens, quite yet. In California, ground squirrels are a keystone species and an important part of the ecosystem. They are also legally labeled as pests. And it is against the law to feed ground squirrels and keep them as a pet or "emotional support" animal.

People battling ground squirrels on their property may find it difficult to see them as providing emotional support - especially when these digging rodents make them act like Bill Murray's Caddyshack character, Carl Spackler.

Not familiar with the term emoti…

Is it a Tree Squirrel or a Ground Squirrel?

Question: 
How do you tell a Tree Squirrel & Ground Squirrel apart?

Typical Answer: Duh! If the squirrel is in a tree, it's a Tree Squirrel. If the squirrel is on the ground, it is a Ground Squirrel.
Too bad it's not that simple!
See those 3 squirrels in the above photos? Notice, that they are all on the ground. You guessed it - they are all actually Tree Squirrels! Just to make things more interesting, Ground Squirrels often climb trees for food or to get a better view. 
How to Tell if it's a Ground Squirrel or Tree Squirrel
1.  Be Scary! The easiest ways to tell if it's a Tree Squirrel or a    Ground Squirrel, is to scare them. Say boo - or however you prefer to be scary, and then watch and see what happens. Typically, Tree Squirrels will climb up a nearby tree and Ground Squirrels will scurry off into a hole.
Squirrels are so tricky and well, squirrelly, so you may need another way to tell them apart.
2.  Look for Markings. Squirrels look similar, but if you look closely…

The Squirrel Guy & Squirrel Lady

"Hey! You're the Squirrel People!"
It's been 5 years since someone first called Mike and I that at a school facilities conference. We weren't quite sure how to react - at least they knew who we were.


Now we are used to being the Squirrel People. Mike is the Squirrel Guy that builds our patented Burrow Blocker and directs the Burrow Blocker service team. You'll also see Mike with Pepper, his black lab, in our videos and flyers.
I am the Squirrel Lady that you'll find at PAPA Seminars, County Ag and AgSafe classes, providing continuing education for pest control licensing. Contact me if you want to learn more about ground squirrels and organic ways to deal with them or if you want to learn how the Burrow Blocker machine can solve your ground squirrel or prairie dog problems.

My brother, Mike Tikalsky, and our Dad, John, invented and patented the Burrow Blocker machine. We have a family ranch in beautiful Northern California that's home to horses, llamas, py…

Relying on Predators for Ground Squirrel Control

Ground Squirrel and Prairie Dog problems can be frustrating, costly and even dangerous. Can doing nothing be the answer to my ground squirrel problems? 

Relying on Predators for Rodent Control



Rattlesnakes and Gopher snakes eat ground squirrels and prairie dogs. The snakes go after the young squirrels because the adults are not easy prey for them to devour. Adult ground squirrels have even been known to fight and bite snakes, including rattlers! Another interesting fact: male California ground squirrels are sometimes immune to rattle snake venom.

Here's an idea...if you see a gopher snake on the road, safely relocate it to the nearest ground squirrel hole. The snake will have a safe place to hide and may discover dinner inside.

Coyotes & Badgers enjoy eating ground squirrels - when they can catch them. Sometimes they pair up as hunting buddies. The badger digs for the squirrels and the coyote chases them. Check out the video below:



Raptors

Raptors like the Red-tailed hawks, kestrels…

Hidden Danger in the Grass

Athletic fields, pastures, lawns, fields and orchards can be hiding a potential injury or damage to equipment. 
Can you spot the ground squirrel holes? 

Before it's too late?


Adults, children and even animals such as horses and cows have tripped in ground squirrel holes. Injuries range from embarrassment, a sprained ankle and even broken legs. Sadly, for horses and cows their injuries can be deadly.



Simply mowing the grass becomes a dangerous game when the area is riddled with ground squirrel holes. People have injured their back when their mower hit a ground squirrel hole. Yes, people go out on disability because ground squirrels were considered a little nuisance. 


Besides personal injury, mowers and tractors can be damaged and grass cutting blades dulled. Shakers will refuse to bring in the walnut crops when an orchard has too many holes because they need to protect their workers and equipment.
The Burrow Blocker is the one-step effective green method that many schools, universities, …