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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. 
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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.

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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 squirrels have been known to travel up to 5 miles to start a new colony.

They are sexually mature by 1 year of age and will repeat the cycle all over again. Let's just hope that it isn't repeating on your land. Oh, and I forgot to mention that ground squirrels live up to 6 years in the wild. Most often, they live for 3-4 years, even less if you maintain ground squirrel control.

Have you noticed the booming ground squirrel population? Please share you ground squirrel thoughts and experiences.

~Lisa

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