Caught this on our rock wall...(pics)

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by SparksNV, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. SparksNV

    SparksNV Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2010
    Spanish Springs, NV
    I think it is a ground squirrel - we live in northern Nevada & have a retaining wall made out of rocks. My daughter & I saw it the other night where our grapevine is. Dh set a trap and caught it today & relocated it. Trap is reset to catch it's spouse, siblings, children.

    Here is the ?ground squirrel? It has a long bushy tail - at least as long as its body.

    [​IMG]

    and another
    [​IMG]

    It was living in the wall - which also extends to the left - it is about 106 ft long. The grapevine is to the left of the photo - This picture was taken when it was built & the vine was just planted - it now covers half that fence.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

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    Why are you catching squirrels? I dont think they eat chickens... [​IMG]
     
  3. SparksNV

    SparksNV Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Spanish Springs, NV
    Yeah but they eat my veggies! The bottom level is my vegetable garden now!

    Carol
     
  4. BigSkyChickens

    BigSkyChickens Free Bird

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    They do not eat chickens, but they wreck my garden!

    I don't believe they are native to the western U.S. (correct me if I'm wrong).

    My county actually spent money to install raptor perches in an effort to control the population:
    http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-01-04/bay-area/17466726_1_ground-squirrel-squirrel-population-raptor

    If they didn't have a cute, fluffy tail, I bet people would think of them more as rodents/pests......sorry to rant, but I HATE these garden pests, and feel for anyone who has to defend their property against these little plague-carrying buggers.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Lynn in Texas

    Lynn in Texas Out Of The Brooder

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    This info might be completely out of date, but I grew up in Walnut Creek, California (Northern Calif.) and we had several ground squirrels in the pasture - they were colored like your squirrel but were built more like prairie dogs and had a short stubby non fluffy tail. This memory is more than 60 years old and I took my doll clothes along with lettuce and carrots to the entrance of their holes (the holes were about 4" across" so they wouldn't get cold and hungry during the winter. It really annoyed my parents and brothers as their holes were a hazard to the cattle and horses.
     
  6. Ang

    Ang Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did a little research (because I like do research on animals) and it appears to be a rock squirrel.
     
  7. TheFeatheredTempest

    TheFeatheredTempest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also thought at first glance that it was a rock squirrel, but after closer examination I'm going with California ground squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi). You are on the eastern edge of their range. This is a native mammal and important part of the ecosystem as they are food for many other animals. Yes, they can be an annoyance to home owners at times and yes, they do host the fleas that carry the plague.
    HOWEVER, I do not worry myself about plague and I've handled thousands of live rodents over the years and by handled I mean without gloves. That is not to say that I would go out and purposefully handle any sick individuals or those from an active plague population! You might check with your county agricultural extension office for local information. They can be a nuisance in the garden depending on time of year and what you are growing. Live trapping and relocating them is illegal in the state of CA, not sure about NV (not that I'm gonna tell). But trapping or killing is likely to be pointless since as quickly as you remove one a new one will move in to take its place! [​IMG] You can attempt to fence in your garden which may or may not work...
    But since they are territorial creatures what I would recommend is FEEDING them, no seriously! Feed them at a regular feeding station away form your garden with something cheap like the cheapest birdseed available or cracked corn. They will usually [​IMG] go for the seed and corn rather than your garden veggies. Your resident squirrels will not allow other squirrels to move in on their territory so your yard population will remain stable. Plus they are cute to watch [​IMG]
    One other thing about CA ground squirrels that is super cool - they are partially resistant to rattlesnake venom and will group together to fight a rattlesnake, especially if it is after the babies! Rattlesnakes are their arch enemies and the anti-predator strategies of these ground squirrels are being actively studied by biologists whose findings have been featured in popular articles and newspapers and wildlife programs. I've seen some of the video clips of them mobbing a snake and even kicking rocks at it and biting its tail! Very cool little critter IMHO. Here are some links:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12477-squirrels-wield-a-hot-secret-weapon.html

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/08/070813-squirrel-snake.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/science/05obsqui.html

    http://brelandkent.wordpress.com/20...ground-squirrelthe-einstein-of-all-squirrels/
     
  8. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sounds like a renewable source of protien for chickens. [​IMG]
     
  9. SparksNV

    SparksNV Chillin' With My Peeps

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    TheFeatheredTempest:

    What cool information! We have seen a significant reduction in the blue belly lizards that live (or lived) in the rock wall. All the past summers, I would be startled by these huge (in my mind) lizards around my garden and my pond. I don't do anything about the lizards because I know they keep bugs down but OMG I have a thing (phobia) about lizards, mice, and rats. UGHHHH. So, I'm thinking the squirrel was keeping the lizard population down - I don't know if they eat them or not or just chase them away.

    Maybe I'll have to rethink the relocation plan...

    Carol
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010
  10. Ang

    Ang Chillin' With My Peeps

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    West Central Illinois
    I stand corrected. You are absolutely right, TheFeatheredTempest!
     

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