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The Facts of Life - Ground Squirrel Edition

Let's talk about sex...ground squirrel reproduction that is. 

The ground squirrel mating style is officially called: polygynandrous. That means they are promiscuous litter critters that mate with up to 4 others. 

In California, breeding season runs from December - April. The further south, the sooner the ground squirrels start breeding. After 25-30 days gestation, the female has a litter of 1-15. Yes, you read it right...up to 15 ground squirrels! Fortunately for us and the female, they usually have 7-8 and only one litter per year.
Now is the time to prepare for the new wave of destructive diggers. After 6 weeks of growing up in their burrow, the litters are starting to emerge from their nests. 

Young Ground Squirrels begin to burrow as early as 8 weeks.

The young look like miniature lighter colored versions of the adults. They stay near the nest until about 6 months of age. Then young ground squirrels will move into old abandoned burrows or scatter off to new territory. Ground squirr…
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Ground Squirrel Killing Day

Winning 2nd place in the California's Children's Squirrel Killing Contest, with 104,509 Ground Squirrel Tails, was the Davis Creek Grammar School! The school was awarded a $30 prize. There is no mention of the name of the 1st place winner or how many squirrel tails that school's children collected.

Besides school ground squirrel killing contests, there was actually such a thing as Ground Squirrel Killing Day. The Board of Supervisors in Modoc County, California, designated June 9, 1918 as county Ground Squirrel Killing Day. Every man, woman, and child was expected to spend the entire day getting rid of those destructive pests. 

All of this surprising information was found in the June 3, 1918, Modoc County Record. That was 99 years ago and times have changed. Although, not as quickly as one would imagine. Animal killing contests were banned in California in 2014.

3 Reasons Your Ground Squirrel Control Isn't Working

Getting rid of ground squirrel infestations can be challenging. From researching the best control methods to purchasing and implementing - there's room for error.

1 - Rodent Misidentification

For example, if you put up an owl box thinking it will eliminate ground squirrel or prairie dog problems, you will be disappointed.  Ground Squirrels & Prairie Dogs are diurnal - most active during the day.Gophers are nocturnal - most active at night.Owl boxes are a good solution for gophers and mice because they attract owls and owls hunt at night when the gophers and mice are out.
2.  Didn't Follow Instructions

It's the middle of a hot summer day and you correctly identified the rodent pests as ground squirrels. You activated a gas cartridge and tossed it in one of their holes, covered it with dirt, and walked away assuming the problem is solved. 

Checked back a few hours later...

The Result:

Gas cartridges are not the best solution on a hot summer day. The gas can dissipate through the…

Love Horses? Keep them Safe!

Are you a horse lover, like me? Some people have work horses, we have cuddle horses. We affectionately call them our pasture ornaments. They were the inspiration for our Burrow Blocker machine. 

Keep your horses safe. Get ground squirrel and prairie dog populations under control and fill their holes to prevent injuries.
Contact me, if you want to talk about horses or how you can keep them safe.
    Lisa & Sedona
Burrow Blocker

Do I Need a License to Get Rid of Ground Squirrels?

Ground Squirrels are often thought of as a pest like a mouse or rat. Each state has different regulations regarding ground squirrel control. If you are treating your own property, most do not require a license. Before you start, check with your local Agricultural Commissioner or County Offices to see if you need a pest control license in your state.

The California Fish and Game Commission classifies Tree Squirrels as a game animal and Ground Squirrels as a nongame animal. A property owner or tenant can control in any legal manner, nongame animals that are damaging property or injuring growing crops. Game animals, like the tree squirrel have a hunting season and a license may be required.

California Fish and Game Commission - Hunting Tree Squirrels and Trapping Ground Squirrels

California Department of Pest Regulation - If you are providing ground squirrel control service for hire or profit, in California, you need a qualified applicators license (QAL).  Ground Squirrels Pest Control


Merry Squirrelly Christmas!

According to the Urban dictionary, squirrelly is defined as bizarre characteristics that cannot be explained;  deliberate, wack spazzy strangeness. While reading that, a friend or loved one probably comes to mind. When I read that, I think of actual squirrels - the rodent critter that exhibits that squirrelly behavior.

A squirrelly example this Christmas season is the colorfully lit trees on Boston Common's unusual outages. Who is destroying the festive mood of the beautiful lights? Squirrels! The Boston Globe shed light on this squirrelly darkness. Tree squirrels are nibbling and chewing through the electrical wires of the Christmas lights. For example, on one 47' Christmas tree, specially delivered from Nova Scotia, half of the lights were out. One theory of this strangeness, is that like some thieves, the squirrels love the copper wire.  The city park officials have contracted a professional to tackle the problem by using a deterrent, Critter Gitter, that consists of hot pep…

Home Remedies for Ground Squirrels

People like to share with me their "Do It Yourself" Remedies for Ground Squirrels. Here are a few that I've recently heard. I can't guarantee if they work, but they're at least creative!

Home Remedies for Ground Squirrels & Prairie Dogs
GUM - Not ordinary gum, but Bazooka Bubble Gum. You know, the hard squares of gum that as a kid almost broke your jaw on the first bite? 

Once a week, this guy's neighbor puts 1 square of Bazooka gum in every ground squirrel hole on his property. He has almost 100 holes, so I doubt if he takes the time to read the comics wrapping each gum square. The neighbor says it works well at eliminating the young ones because they can't digest the gum. According to an expert, Jim Knight, a Montana State Extension Wildlife Specialist. "Bubble gum might sometimes clog a ground squirrel's intestines or burst its stomach, but no one has conducted scientific studies on its overall effectiveness. It's hardly cheap," he s…