At High Desert Wildlife Control, we receive more calls about California Ground Squirrel and Antelope Ground Squirrel infestations than all other species combined. Ground squirrels are found in every county in California, and our desert climate is favorable to them. California Ground Squirrels are not native to the Mojave Desert Region, are extremely invasive, and cause serious problems not only for homeowners, ranchers, and crops, but cause serious harm to native species due to their aggressive nature. California ground squirrels are classified by the CA Dept of Food and Agriculture as a serious pest species, causing millions of dollars of damage in California per year, and are carriers of fleas and ticks that can cause serious illnesses, death, or just plain misery for pets, livestock, and humans. Burrows may also harbor Assassin Bugs also called Conenose Bugs or Kissing Bugs.
When addressing ground squirrel infestations, no two properties are alike, and the methods we use in controlling infestations varies.
Antelope ground squirrels are not a listed nuisance species, but under the right circumstances, can be quite destructive. The Antelope Ground Squirrel is not to be confused with the Mohave Ground Squirrel, which has long been listed as a threatened species, and is protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Issues arise when ground squirrels find easy food sources, and places to live in which there are few predators. They are attracted to bird feeders, livestock (due to grain fed to livestock and chickens,) unsecured trash, vegetable gardens, landscaping, pet food left outdoors, trees, and commercial crops. With these all-you-can eat buffets, they are able to cache impressive amounts of food within their burrows to be eaten later, and they reproduce readily, causing populations to quickly spiral out of control. To add to this problem, some people feed ground squirrels on purpose. In California, feeding wildlife-is illegal. In remote desert areas, devoid of humans, California ground squirrels aren’t seen in the huge numbers that they are in areas of human habitation or farming. Often, they aren’t seen at all-at least not yet. Uncontrolled ground squirrel colonies don’t leave, they only grow larger-and spread. Ignoring a ground squirrel infestation will not make it go away. Once established, the problem only escalates.
Often, the impact of a ground squirrel infestation isn’t noticed until domestic pets (dog and cats) suddenly turn up with fleas and/or ticks. Fleas and ticks can be much more than an annoyance and may be easily carried into your home by cats and dogs.
Ground squirrels live in holes or burrows. The burrows and tunnels of California Ground squirrels cause livestock (and humans) to fall through the top layer of soil or into burrow entrances, causing serious leg injuries and falls. They love to dig burrows next to solid objects, and as a result, can severely damage, or destroy the integrity of building foundations, retaining walls, roads, patios, and flood control systems. When burrowing into hillsides, they cause soil instability and erosion, resulting in landslides, and destroying vehicle and electrical wiring is a particularly popular activity.
We truly understand how unpleasant and frustrating it can be trying to tackle not only an infestation of squirrels, but the very expensive damage that they cause.
After you schedule a service call, we’ll come out and do a complete inspection of your property. Since no two infestations are a like, we tailor a plan targeting the specific problems ground squirrels are creating. Timing is everything. Ground squirrels have unique activity patterns, and we target infestations according to their natural biological cycles.
While many people wish to be kind to ground squirrels, releasing them to other areas is not only irresponsible, it is illegal and anything but kind. Released squirrels often starve to death or die of exposure. Others find their way to a nearby inhabited area, and start the process of causing damage all over again. Those who release squirrels may also be spreading an undetected, serious disease to a new area, making early detection by county and state vector control authorities impossible.
For more information about releasing trapped wildlife, please visit our Releasing Trapped Wildlife page.
We never use poison to address problems with ground squirrels, or any other species of wildlife. The use of poisons is cruel, unnecessary, and millions of non-target animals are sickened or killed every year due to secondary (unintended) poisoning.
We use humane methods only, as required by California law, and based on the recommendations of the American Veterinary Medical Association. We feel that all wildlife should be treated with respect. Please see our FAQ for more details.