What is that dog barking about? It’s just a California Ground Squirrel running across the patio. Oh, he’s so cute. California Ground Squirrels are such cute little creatures, that is when they don’t stick around for long. It’s hard to believe just how destructive a little squirrel can be. And they know how to use their “cuteness” to gain your sympathy, but don’t turn your back on them or you’ll see exactly what they’re capable of.
As you may know, ground squirrels are related to rats, mice, and other rodents. And much like their rodent cousins, they can spread diseases to humans. Leptospirosis is one of the more common diseases squirrels carry. Leptospirosis infects the kidneys and can cause liver failure, and all it takes is a small nip. The infected squirrel may never show any symptoms so you might not know that you’ve been infected until it’s too late. Squirrels also can carry rabies and other fungal infections that can significantly harm humans.
So why is Rocket J. running around your yard? There could be many reasons ground squirrels are visiting your backyard and it’s fine as long as they don’t linger, and you don’t happen to have any pets. Dogs especially are a concern when it comes to squirrels. They too can contract diseases from squirrels. They can also become seriously injured from squirrel bites or accidents leading from chasing squirrels.
Even though some can be adorable, think of safety first and never feed them. They’re very intelligent, and if they believe they can get a free meal, they’ll be back on your doorstep looking for more handouts. Before you know it, your yard will be littered with squirrel holes, and your new “friend” will have invited his entire family to live in your yard.
How do you prevent ground squirrels from moving into your property? First, look for food sources. Do you have fruit trees? Fruit trees are the #1 draw for squirrels of any kind. If they can find an easy meal, they’ll grab it. Quite often, they’ll take fruit off your trees and hide it in other places, such as garden pots or under grills. This can cause other serious problems depending on where they stash their treasure.
The best way to prevent attracting squirrels when you have fruit trees is to keep trees trimmed away from walls or other objects squirrels can climb up on. Use a squirrel blocker a few feet from the base of the tree to keep them from climbing up into it. Also, keep the area clean of rotting fruit.
Do you have bird feeders? Ground squirrels love bird seeds almost as much as birds. Try using a specialized “squirrel free” bird feeder that helps keep squirrels from stealing the seed. If your bird feeder is on Sheppard’s hook or another type of post, try greasing either with lard or a slippery substance. You may have to put the bird seed away for awhile until you no longer see any squirrels.
Ground squirrels burrow under ground to make their nests. There are other ways of keeping ground squirrels off your property. For one, if you do see a ground squirrel hole, try surrounding the hole with coyote urine. Don’t have a coyote handy? That’s alright. Many hardware and online stores like Amazon carry coyote urine both in liquid and in granule form. You can also sprinkle the coyote urine around the perimeter of your yard to keep ground squirrels from ever entering.
You can also use sonic pest control devices. This is a good deterrent but not great if you already have an issue with ground squirrels. If you can’t seem to keep them off your property, then you may want to purchase a good trap. You can purchase a humane trap that will allow you to trap a squirrel and release it in a field far from your home.
Unfortunately, squirrels are quite clever and often can find ways around your deterrents. If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work, it’s time to call a professional. The professionals at AIPM are trained in eliminating all types of rodents, including the more intelligent ones. AIPM’s trained team can remove any threats to your property while setting up a custom plan to ensure that you never have to face an infestation by any critter, big or small, again. Contact us today for a free consultation!