What Do Ground Squirrels Eat?

Last Updated: 11.12.19

 

There are people who prefer to use squirrel traps to get rid of these small animals that can cause significant damage to their property. Even if they are adorable to watch, squirrels need to be kept out of your home as they can easily destroy your crops and your surroundings. Most of the times they choose to live in the wall of your house during winter.

The more time they spend on your property, the more damage they cause and the harder it gets for you to move them out. That is why you need to be careful and to catch these unwanted guests as soon as possible. They will not leave unless you chase them away with various devices or you can use traps that might help you get rid of them.

Traps will catch squirrels inside and there is no way for them to get out unless you want to let them out. It’s best to set a bait like peanuts for them inside the trap and sprinkle some around the trap as well. We know that squirrels love peanuts, and they will not resist the temptation but you should know that ground squirrels also eat many other things.

 

Ground squirrels vs tree squirrels

Ground squirrels like to forage above ground very close to their burrows, and that is why it is easy for someone to identify them. These small animals are constantly on the search for food even if their body only measures 14 to 15 inches together with their bushy tail. Also, these adorable little creatures are not heavy at all and they only weigh between 21 and 30 ounces.

It is easy to tell apart a male squirrel from a female one as the males are a bit larger and heavier. These cute little rodents have a nice mottled brown and soft fur and they are also known for their white and gray spots on the back. In order to make sure that the animal you have spotted is indeed a ground squirrel, you should also look for other distinctive marks.

Their belly, for example, has a mixture of colors including white, gray, and light brown. When we are talking about squirrels, many people have the image of a small animal with a bushy tail, and this is true. But, you should know that the tails of the ground squirrels are not as bushy as those of the tree squirrels. Knowing this aspect will help you make a distinction between these two.

Tree squirrels and ground squirrels look very similar, but if you pay attention to certain physiological features you will be able to tell them apart. The main thing that confuses most people is that both types can climb trees. The major difference is that when they get scared ground squirrels will run to their burrows whereas tree squirrels will just climb a tree.

Fruit trees

Ground squirrels are very good at digging complex tunnels where they spend most of their time and they also bring their food in here. When they are in danger and they need to protect themselves against predators, they will quickly hide in these tunnels. They are able to build burrow systems that are quite elaborate as well as simple ones.

When they are not in their burrows, squirrels look for food and some of their favorites are various fruits from your fruit trees. If you have many fruit trees in your garden then you should expect lots of squirrels paying you plenty of visits. They just love to fill their belly with many types of delicious and juicy fruits and they are able to climb trees even if they are tall.

Squirrels like almost any types of fruits but they also have their own favorites such as apricots, prunes, peaches, apples, or oranges. Also, sometimes they don’t wait for the fruits to ripe so you shouldn’t be surprised if you see them eating raw fruits. These small little creatures also love to munch on nuts which means that your nut trees are also in danger.

They tend to hide their food and then come for it a few months later, and they will usually hide their nuts at the base of a tree. Furthermore, ground squirrels have a few nut trees that they are absolutely crazy about and those are almond, pistachio, and walnut trees. If you have them in your garden you should expect lots of squirrels attacking your trees.

 

Eggs and seeds

Yes, you heard it right, squirrels are very good at stealing your birds’ eggs and eating them! So, if you have ground-nesting birds, you need to be aware that squirrels love to eat their eggs. That is why you should protect them and try to keep those nasty small animals far away from them. They are clever little creatures that are very good at finding and stealing the food that they like.

Also, they will be watching for the birds to lay their eggs which means that if you have quails, you need to protect them against ground squirrels. They have plenty of experience in stealing food, so don’t just assume that you are faster than them as you can have a surprise. If you are not ready, you will be left with no eggs and squirrels will have them all.

When the fall and summer come, squirrels love to feed on seeds. These little animals have learned to adapt and they are not picky when it comes to their food. They have learned how to get all the nutrients they need from what is accessible to them. While they have certain foods that they like more than others, they will eat almost anything that fills their bellies.

They choose seeds because they are widely available to them and they can find them almost anywhere – parks, forests, and even your yard. They will usually opt for seeds of weed plants and crop staples and among them, we can remember the wheat and corn. That is why they can be quite a nuisance for farmers who try to harvest wheat or corn crops.

Insects

If you thought that ground squirrels only eat plants and nuts, you should know that they also eat insects and small vertebrates. They love to munch on delicious fruits and seeds, but when those are not available to them they will fill their bellies with insects.

As we have already mentioned, ground squirrels adapt their eating habits and they will eat almost anything. They are very good at digging and foraging, and that is why it is easy for them to find those insects that they enjoy eating.

They don’t have many preferences when it comes to insects, and they are happy with whatever insect they can capture. Also, if they are not able to find insects, they will catch small vertebrates and they will make a meal out of them.

Ground squirrels are considered both hunters and gatherers and they don’t really mind what they eat as long as they fill up their belly.

 

 

Bibliography:

1) How are they different than tree squirrels?

2) What is a ground squirrel?

3) Burrow System Architecture

4) A Ground Squirrel’s diet

 

 

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