Skip to main content

Ground Squirrels Are More Than Annoying

Remember hearing about the Bubonic Plague in history class? Well, those destructive ground squirrels that create hazardous holes and cause millions of dollars in damage per year, have also been known to carry and spread the bubonic plague.

Wild rodents, such as mice and ground squirrels transmit plague, through the bite of infected fleas. Be aware when you pick up even a dead ground squirrel. If an infected flea bites you, you could end up with enlarged lymph glands near the bite area and quickly get a fever or chills. Get treatment right away, or it could possibly infect your blood and lungs.

In July 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported that a ground squirrel captured in the Los Alamos Campground in the Angeles National Forest, tested positive for plague. The campground was closed for 10 days by Los Angeles County Public Health and U.S. Forest Service officials and squirrel burrows in the area were dusted for fleas.

According to the Vertebrate Pest Control Handbook – Mammals, it is thought that over the last 40 years, ground squirrels were the hosts to plague-infected fleas in over half the reported human cases of plague in California. Ground Squirrels can also spread a list of diseases that most of us have heard of thanks to the TV show, House:  tularemia, rat bite fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Chagas’ disease, adiospiromycosis and encephalomycarditis. Visit the Center for Disease Control website for more information on diseases spread by rodents: http://www.cdc.gov/rodents/diseases/direct.html#plague.

All of this talk of the bubonic plague and other diseases spread by ground squirrels, is not to scare you. I believe that knowledge is power. Remember, ground squirrels are wild animals and they can bite and carry disease. To be safe, do not feed them and if you have to handle them, use caution. If you discover large numbers of dead squirrels or other rodents and there is no apparent reason, notify public health officials. Do not handle dead squirrels under these circumstances.

Also, use flea protection on your dogs and cats and get your ground squirrel population under control. Of course, I recommend the Burrow Blocker. :)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Best Way to Fill a Ground Squirrel Hole

Ground squirrel holes! They can destroy beautiful landscaping and make athletic fields and pastures hazardous. Ground squirrel holes are much more than an unsightly nuisance, they can cause serious injuries. How do you get rid of ground squirrel holes?  Often people grab a shovel and start pushing the dirt surrounding the hole back in. That's usually not enough dirt on the outside, so they get more dirt and keep shoveling it in until it looks full. Surprise! The next day the hole is back. After trying dirt, rocks are often the next choice. Again, the next day, the hole is often back.  Why doesn't filling in ground squirrel holes using a shovel work? Shoveling in the holes is often unsuccessful, because the ground squirrel is hiding in a lower portion of the tunnel system and they dig their way out. What is the best way to fill ground squirrel holes? The Burrow Blocker machine is a fast, easy, and effective way of filling in ground squirrel holes.The patented mac

Is it a Ground Squirrel or a Gopher?

Do you know the difference between a Gr ound Squirrel and a Gopher ? If you are battling burrowing rodents on your property, after awhile you might just start channeling Carl Spackler, Bill Murray's character in the movie, Caddyshack. Remember when Sandy McFiddish, the head groundskeeper of the golf course told Carl, in his rich Scottish accent, "Carl, I want you to kill all the golfers on the golf course."? Carl replied, " Correct me if I'm wrong Sandy, but if I kill all the golfers they'll lock me up and throw away the key." Sandy yelled, " Not golfers, you great fool! Gophers, rodents! THE LITTLE BROWN, FURRY THINGS!" Carl replied, "We can do that. We don't even need a reason." Remember that destructive dancing gopher in Caddyshack? (Be patient...it has a long intro.)     Most of the people that visit this blog, do have a reason. They want those destructive diggers to just stop destroying

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 hardl