Thirteen-lined ground squirrels, also called striped gophers or leopard ground squirrels, are rodents that you may find living on your property. These rodents can cause numerous problems for you; here are three things you need to know about thirteen-lined ground squirrels.
How can you identify thirteen-lined ground squirrels?
Thirteen-lined ground squirrels have brown fir and thirteen stripes on their backs. These stripes alternate between brown and white, and there may also be spots on their backs. You may mistake them for chipmunks or squirrels, but if you look more closely, the thirteen stripes will be obvious, and you'll be able to identify the rodent.
Why are these rodents pests?
These rodents like to live in environments that have short grass, so your freshly-mowed lawn is the perfect place for them. They live in underground burrows, so you may notice that a hole has appeared in the middle of your lawn. Worse, they make emergency burrows—shallow holes that they hide in if they see a predator coming—throughout their environment, so you may see many unsightly holes in your lawn.
Thirteen-lined ground squirrels are omnivorous and will eat a lot of different things, including your grass. If you have a vegetable garden, they'll eat your crops too.
How can you control thirteen-lined ground squirrels?
If these pests have made your lawn their home, a wildlife removal company can trap them for you. In some states, a permit is required to relocate these squirrels, so live trapping may not be an option. The company will let you know if the squirrels will be killed or relocated.
Another option is to install a fence around the perimeter of your property or around a smaller area that you want to protect, like your vegetable garden. Since thirteen-lined ground squirrels make underground tunnels, the fence will need to be buried at least six inches under the ground, and a three-foot wide mesh screen will need to be attached to the bottom. This can be expensive, but it's a humane method.
Flooding their burrows is another way to control thirteen-lined ground squirrels. All you need to do is pour water down the burrows with a bucket or a garden hose, and the squirrels will immediately evacuate their burrows. Once they're gone, fill the burrows with soil and re-seed that area of the lawn.
Thirteen-lined ground squirrels can ruin your lawn, so if they're living on your property, contact a wildlife removal company, such as Molter Termite and Pest Control.