Anatomy Of A Ground Squirrel: What Separates Them From Chipmunks And Tree Squirrels

Ground squirrels are some of the most pervasive pests in California. They ruin the look and appearance of your lawn, but worse yet, but they can also lead to significant problems in your home’s foundation.

But how do you identify a fast-moving ground squirrel? And how do they differ from other similar species like tree squirrels and chipmunks? In California, all three of these common mammalian pests are prevalent, though you might only find yourself asking how to catch a ground squirrel.

Anatomy of a ground squirrel

There are prominent visual identifiers that help you determine whether you’re dealing with a ground squirrel, chipmunk, or tree squirrel.

Ground squirrels have stripes down their back that mimic the overall appearance of a chipmunk, but a ground squirrel lacks the identifiable head stripes present on chipmunks. Additionally, these two mammals are similar in size, ranging from eight to 12 inches, though chipmunks can be as small as six inches while fully grown. By comparison, an eastern gray squirrel will be much larger, typically ranging from 12 to 20 inches in length. Gray squirrels will also have a large, bushy tail and monochromatic gray coat. These squirrels are often mixed up with ground squirrels because of the ground squirrel’s semi-bushy tail. A key element to visually identifying a ground squirrel is the presence of a white circle around the animal’s eyes.

Differences in behavior

Ground squirrels and tree squirrels are found throughout California. Though ground squirrels typically prefer farmland, they have also pervaded suburban areas to feast on green grasses and ornamental plants many homeowners grow in their yards.

Unlike tree squirrels, who live in the branches of high trees, ground squirrels are a burrowing animal that makes their home beneath the earth. Some burrows can reach up to 30 feet long and as deep as two to four feet. This is also similar to gophers who can make tunnels as long as 2,000 square feet. As such, getting rid of ground squirrels isn’t always easy.

As they form intricate tunnels throughout your lawn or farmland, this can cause danger to your home’s foundation and create ugly raises in your yard. To avoid danger, ground squirrels rarely move more than 50 feet from their burrow, while tree squirrels will venture out miles since they can escape predation in trees.

The trouble with ground squirrels

If you’re having trouble identifying a ground squirrel from a chipmunk or tree squirrel, spooking the animal the best way to determine what type of pest you have. A squirrel will typically find shelter up a tree. A chipmunk will run to shrubbery. A ground squirrel cannot climb and will run to its burrow for cover.

The best way to catch ground squirrels is by relying on the help of a pest control service. Getting rid of ground squirrels can be done through a variety of methods, including ground squirrel traps, ground squirrel repellant, and ground squirrel control poison. You should never try to use these methods of getting rid of ground squirrels on your own. Call Smith’s Gopher Trapping Service when you want to preserve your lawn and home today.