How to Get Rid of Ground Squirrels

Ground squirrels can be a persistent nuisance for many homeowners, causing damage to gardens and landscapes. Understanding their behavior and knowing how to identify their presence are crucial steps in effectively managing these pests.

From natural repellents to physical barriers and even utilizing predator decoys, there are various methods to consider when addressing ground squirrel infestations. However, the key lies in implementing a comprehensive approach that combines different strategies to ensure long-term success.

Stay tuned to discover practical tips and techniques to help you reclaim your outdoor space from these furry intruders.

Key Takeaways

  • Implement natural repellents like strong-smelling herbs and ultrasonic repellers.
  • Create physical barriers using fences and exclusion methods to prevent access.
  • Utilize predator decoys and sound devices to deter ground squirrels effectively.
  • Seek professional help for persistent squirrel issues and long-term prevention strategies.

Understanding Ground Squirrel Behavior

Understanding the behavior patterns of ground squirrels is essential for implementing effective strategies to manage their presence. Ground squirrels, belonging to the genus Spermophilus, are known for their burrowing habits and herbivorous diet. These rodents are active during the day and are highly social creatures, often living in colonies with intricate tunnel systems. Ground squirrels exhibit territorial behavior, fiercely defending their burrows from intruders. They are opportunistic feeders, consuming a variety of plants, seeds, fruits, and occasionally insects.

Research indicates that ground squirrels hibernate during the winter months, relying on stored body fat for survival. In preparation for hibernation, they actively forage and hoard food to sustain themselves through the colder seasons. Ground squirrels are also known for their alarm calling behavior, emitting high-pitched sounds to warn others in the colony of potential dangers.

Identifying Signs of Ground Squirrel Presence

When trying to identify ground squirrel presence, look for tracks in the soil and visible burrow entrances.

Tracks in the soil can indicate recent squirrel activity, while burrow entrances are a clear sign of their underground nests.

These signs can help you locate areas of high ground squirrel activity on your property.

Tracks in Soil

Tracks in the soil can provide valuable clues for identifying the presence of ground squirrels in an area. Ground squirrel tracks are typically small, about 1 inch in length, with four toe prints on the front feet and five on the hind feet. These tracks can often be found near burrow entrances or feeding areas.

The hind feet usually show a distinctive drag mark between the prints due to the way ground squirrels move. By observing the size and pattern of the tracks, one can determine if ground squirrels are active in the vicinity.

It is essential to differentiate ground squirrel tracks from other wildlife to accurately assess their presence and take appropriate pest control measures.

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Burrow Entrances Visible

To further ascertain the presence of ground squirrels in an area, one can observe the visibility of burrow entrances as a key indicator. Ground squirrel burrow entrances typically appear as openings in the ground, often surrounded by disturbed soil or small mounds of dirt.

These burrow entrances are essential for ground squirrels as they provide shelter, protection, and a place for nesting. By identifying these burrow entrances, individuals can confirm the presence of ground squirrels in the vicinity.

It is important to note that these burrows can vary in size and shape, depending on the species of ground squirrel. Regular monitoring of these burrow entrances can help in implementing effective control measures to manage ground squirrel populations.

Implementing Natural Repellents and Deterrents

When looking to naturally repel ground squirrels, consider planting strong-smelling herbs like mint, garlic, or lavender around your property.

Additionally, installing ultrasonic repellers can emit sounds that deter squirrels without harming them.

Another natural deterrent is using predator urine, such as that of foxes or coyotes, to create a scent that signals danger to ground squirrels.

Planting Strong-Smelling Herbs

Implementing natural repellents and deterrents for ground squirrels can be effectively achieved by strategically planting strong-smelling herbs in your garden.

Herbs like mint, lavender, rosemary, and garlic emit odors that ground squirrels find unpleasant, deterring them from entering your garden. These herbs not only add a pleasant aroma to your outdoor space but also serve as a natural barrier against these pesky rodents.

Consider planting them along the borders of your garden or in areas where ground squirrels are commonly seen. By incorporating these strong-smelling herbs into your landscaping, you can create an environment that is less appealing to ground squirrels, helping to keep them at bay without the need for harmful chemicals or traps.

Installing Ultrasonic Repellers

Ultrasonic repellers are effective devices for deterring ground squirrels from entering your garden by emitting high-frequency sound waves that are unpleasant to these rodents. The high-pitched frequencies produced by ultrasonic repellers create a hostile environment for ground squirrels without causing harm to them or other animals.

These devices work by emitting sound waves that are disruptive to the sensitive hearing of ground squirrels, causing discomfort and deterring them from the area. It is important to place the ultrasonic repellers strategically around the garden to ensure optimal coverage and effectiveness.

While ultrasonic repellers can be a valuable tool in managing ground squirrel populations, it is also recommended to combine them with other control methods for a comprehensive approach to pest management.

Using Natural Predator Urine

To deter ground squirrels from your garden, utilizing natural predator urine can serve as an effective natural repellent and deterrent method. Predator urine, such as that from foxes, coyotes, or bobcats, triggers the instinctual fear response in ground squirrels, causing them to avoid areas where they detect the scent.

This method mimics the presence of a natural predator, creating a hostile environment for the squirrels without causing them harm. It is essential to reapply the predator urine regularly, especially after rain, to maintain its effectiveness.

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While this natural repellent can be useful, it is important to combine it with other strategies like habitat modification for the best results in managing ground squirrel populations in your garden.

Creating Physical Barriers and Exclusion Methods

One effective approach to managing ground squirrels involves the strategic implementation of physical barriers and exclusion methods.

Physical barriers can help prevent ground squirrels from accessing areas where they are unwanted. Installing fences with buried mesh or hardware cloth extending at least 12 inches below the ground can deter squirrels from burrowing into gardens or under structures. Additionally, tree wraps made of metal or plastic can protect tree trunks from squirrel damage.

Exclusion methods, such as sealing off entry points to buildings or using wire mesh to cover vents and openings, can prevent ground squirrels from gaining access to enclosed spaces. It is essential to regularly inspect and maintain these barriers to ensure their effectiveness.

Utilizing Predator Decoys and Sound Devices

When dealing with ground squirrels, property owners can enhance their management strategies by incorporating the use of predator decoys and sound devices as deterrents. Predator decoys, such as fake owls or snakes, can create the illusion of a threat in the area, causing ground squirrels to avoid the vicinity out of fear of predators. These decoys should be moved periodically to maintain their effectiveness.

Sound devices emit noises that mimic predator calls or distress signals of ground squirrels, disrupting their sense of safety and prompting them to seek refuge elsewhere. It is essential to rotate the sounds periodically to prevent the squirrels from becoming accustomed to a specific noise.

Research has shown that the combination of predator decoys and sound devices can be an effective method for deterring ground squirrels from invading properties. By utilizing these tools strategically and consistently, property owners can reduce the presence of ground squirrels and minimize damage to gardens, lawns, and structures.

Practicing Proper Yard Maintenance Techniques

Implementing effective yard maintenance techniques is crucial for preventing ground squirrels from finding shelter and food sources on your property. To deter ground squirrels, start by keeping your yard clean and free of debris where they can hide. Regularly mow your lawn, trim bushes and trees, and remove piles of leaves or wood that could serve as potential nesting spots. Additionally, seal off any openings or gaps in structures, such as sheds or fences, to prevent squirrels from accessing these areas.

Another important step is to store food sources properly. Make sure to keep bird feeders out of reach or use squirrel-proof feeders. Store pet food indoors and secure garbage cans with tight-fitting lids. By eliminating easy access to food, you can discourage ground squirrels from frequenting your property.

Lastly, consider installing barriers like fences or underground wire mesh to prevent ground squirrels from burrowing into your yard. These physical barriers can be effective in keeping squirrels out and maintaining a squirrel-free environment in your yard.

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Seeking Professional Help and Advice

To effectively address persistent ground squirrel issues beyond DIY methods, seeking professional help and advice from pest control experts or wildlife management professionals is recommended. Pest control professionals have the expertise and tools to assess the extent of the infestation, identify key entry points, and implement targeted strategies for removal. Wildlife management professionals can offer insights into humane trapping methods, relocation options, and long-term prevention strategies to deter ground squirrels from returning.

When selecting a professional service, it is essential to choose a reputable company with experience in dealing specifically with ground squirrel infestations. Reading reviews, checking credentials, and requesting references can help ensure the effectiveness of the services provided. Additionally, consulting with multiple professionals to get different opinions and quotes can assist in making an informed decision regarding the best course of action for your particular situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Ground Squirrels Harmful to Humans or Pets?

Ground squirrels can pose risks to humans and pets. They may carry diseases like plague and fleas. Additionally, their burrowing habits can damage property or create tripping hazards. It's essential to manage their presence carefully.

Can Ground Squirrels Cause Damage to Underground Utilities or Structures?

Ground squirrels can indeed cause damage to underground utilities or structures. Their burrowing habits may lead to disruptions in irrigation systems, electrical lines, and even weaken foundations of buildings. Proper preventive measures are crucial.

How Do Ground Squirrels Affect Garden Plants and Crops?

Ground squirrels can damage garden plants and crops by feeding on seeds, bulbs, fruits, and vegetables. Their burrowing activities may disrupt root systems, leading to plant stress or death. Implementing effective control measures is crucial to mitigate these impacts.

Is It Safe to Use Chemical Repellents Around Children and Pets?

When considering the safety of chemical repellents around children and pets, it is crucial to consult product labels for specific guidelines. Some chemicals may pose risks if ingested or inhaled. Proper storage and application are essential for minimizing potential harm.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Using Predator Decoys or Sound Devices to Deter Ground Squirrels?

Using predator decoys or sound devices to deter ground squirrels may pose risks. Predator decoys can be ineffective long-term, while sound devices may disturb pets and wildlife. Consider potential impacts on local ecosystems and neighboring properties before implementing these methods.


In conclusion, addressing a ground squirrel infestation requires a combination of strategies:

  • Understanding their behavior
  • Implementing natural repellents
  • Creating physical barriers
  • Utilizing predator decoys
  • Practicing yard maintenance
  • Seeking professional help when needed

By taking proactive measures and utilizing a variety of methods, it is possible to effectively manage and deter ground squirrels from your property.