General Information

  • Highly intelligent animals
  • There are 3 types of squirrels in San Diego. The most common is the California Ground Squirrel, Western Gray squirrel and the non-native, Eastern Fox squirrel (tree squirrel)
  • The ground squirrel is the only species that makes its home in burrows dug underground. They may live communally but each squirrel has its own entrance.
  • Most squirrels are active during the day, beginning at dawn, often resting midday, and active again until dusk.
  • Squirrels are most active during the fall, collecting and burying nuts and seeds and also looking for protective shelter from winter weather.
  • Tree squirrels breed and have their young in late winter, early spring
  • Ground squirrels breed in early spring and have their young in late spring and early summer
  • Squirrels store food in their cheek pouches and cache(hide) food in areas near their den to recover later.
  • They are primarily herbivores eating plants, seeds, nuts and fruits.
  • They are preyed on by a number of species but are skilled at deterring rattlesnakes with a particular tail swish.
  • Ground squirrels have been known to chew the shed skin of a rattlesnake, lick her fur, then rub it on her babies to keep the snakes from picking up the scent of her babies.
  • Many people consider squirrels a nuisance, but they have been introduced by scientists into burrowing owl territory to help create burrows that entice the birds back to their habitats and keep the grasses low.
  • They have also been known to spread seeds that have helped many farms produce more crops.

Ways to Discourage

  • Young squirrels are with their mother until fall so it is best to leave them alone until late fall or winter if you are trying to exclude them from a structure.
  • To protect bulb plants- Blend bloodmeal into the soil around the bulbs to deter squirrels from digging and eating the bulbs. Plant covers are also effective against squirrel damage to bulbs. A diluted solution of hot sauce (one tablespoon hot sauce to one gallon water) misted on the soil and bulbs is another effective deterrent.
  • To protect bird feeders- Commercial bird feeders will potentially discourage them from the feeder, but they will still pick up anything that drops and stay around for that.
  • Bird feeders should also be placed 8 ft away from tree branches to prevent them from jumping over to them.