Service Summary:

  • Ground Squirrel

    A Grove technician will assess your property and determine if trapping is a viable option.

  • The technician will provide recommendations for more permanent control, such as landscaping.

  • If trapping is an option, traps will be set in active burrows.

  • A follow-up service is required to either pick up the traps or continue trapping.

Ground Squirrel Info

The Calgary area has a few different ground squirrel species, but the only major pest is the Richardson’s Ground Squirrel. This is what you probably know as a gopher. They are usually a gold/light brown or light grey color, about 20-25 cm in length. They sure are cute! Unfortunately, they cause a lot of damage.

The major complaints regarding ground squirrels are their tunnels and foraging behaviour. They can create relatively large holes and excavate large amounts of soil, creating mounds. The mounds and holes can be unsightly, but more importantly can be tripping hazards for people and animals. They also interfere with machinery, such as lawn mowers and harvesting equipment. On the other hand, burrowing aerates the soil and helps with nutrient cycling and water drainage. The property owner must decide when the damage becomes too much to bear and control methods must be implemented.

At Grove Eco-friendly Pest Control, we do not use rodenticides, and for good reason! Ground squirrels are a massive source of food for prairie predators such as hawks, weasels, badgers, foxes, coyotes, wild cats, and snakes. For example, during the chick-rearing season, Richardson’s ground squirrels account for over 75% of total prey biomass for ferruginous hawks, red-tailed hawks, and Swainson’s hawks. A single pair of ferruginous hawks raising chicks can consume more than 400 ground squirrels in a single season! If rodenticides are used to kill these prey animals, these birds, and all other predatory animals, also ingest the poison. It is very difficult to estimate or study the full impact of secondary poisoning on predatory animals, but it is likely many more die from secondary poisoning than we know.

Ground Squirrel Control

Not using rodenticides leaves few options for controlling ground squirrels. Because ground squirrels are social creatures, live trapping and translocating individuals is actually quite inhumane. They will be severely distressed by being separated from their group. They will struggle to survive on their own, particularly in a new territory without knowledge of the terrain or sources of food and water. For this reason, we do not offer live ground squirrel trapping.

We recommend using lethal traps for ground squirrels. A trapping program done early in the season before females give birth can vastly reduce the population. Once females have finished nursing around May, it is too late, and there will be many more juveniles to trap. Trapping is also only a short-term solution, as ground squirrels tend to repopulate old burrows.

Even more humane than trapping is creating an unsuitable habitat for the ground squirrels, and/or creating a suitable habitat for predators. This will create a long-term solution for your property that does not rely on harming the animals. Grove technicians are experts at ground squirrel behaviour, and can provide you recommendations for improving your property to deter ground squirrels. Send a message or give us a call today!


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