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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Integrated Pest Management Strategies for Round-tailed Ground Squirrels


Round-tailed ground squirrels are common residents of natural areas throughout most of the desert southwest region of North America. They live in colonies of several adults, subadults, and young, and are diurnal during the active season that ranges from March to September. They are well adapted to desert life and live in burrows they excavate in the ground, but will also modify and occupy burrows created by other animals. Round-tailed ground squirrels are frequently seen in many human community environments. Their burrowing is usually not a significant cause of concern, nor do they cause severe damage to humans or their property. However, they very often cause concerns due to human-wildlife interactions that may include the squirrels themselves, but also their predators such as rattlesnakes, coyote, feral dogs, and other large mammals. Another cause for concern is that round-tailed ground squirrels can be hosts for fleas and other parasites and could vector plague or other diseases during human interactions. An integrated pest management strategy was successfully used at an archaeological site in Arizona to manage activity of these rodents, using a combination of monitoring, trapping, and repellents.

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