BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR
Tree squirrels belong to the rodent family and Utah has the Albert squirrel, the Pine squirrel and the Eastern Fox squirrel. The Pine squirrel is also known as the Red squirrel or Chickaree. Tree squirrels are seldom found far from forested or wooded areas.
Tree squirrels feed on a variety of materials including fruits, bark, leaves, fungi, insects, bird eggs, nuts and occasionally other small animals. Tree squirrel diets vary by species and are determined by their habitat and season of the year. They do not hibernate but tend to store great quantities of food during the winter months.
Tree squirrels are a nuisance and cause damage when they use buildings for nesting sites and food storage or gnaw into attics to take up residence. They often gain access through vents, broken windows, knot holes, and construction gaps under eaves and gables. Occasionally, the chimney and fire place provide an entry route.
Some have a remarkable ability to destroy wooden shakes and shingles. The amount of structural damage may at times be severe. They can be especially destructive to cabins that are vacant during part of the year, since they are free to continue the activities until the owners return. Garages, barns, stables, tool sheds, and other buildings often serve as home for tree squirrels.
Rarely do Tree squirrels take up residence in a building without being seen or leaving evidence. The typical evidence of Tree squirrels includes droppings, gnawed holes, nest materials, food stores, shells, hulls, pits, and other food remnants. If squirrels are in the attic or garage even if not visible, their movement can be heard.
BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR
Ground squirrels average 10-15 inches in length and weigh 10-18 ounces. They generally are a brownish smoke grey color. Ground squirrels are found in the northern 1/3 of Utah from 5,000 feet elevation to above timberline.
Ground squirrels prefer grasses but also eat forbs and shrubs. They build underground burrows in which to live. They enter these burrows in late August to early September to hibernate and stay there until January to March. Two to ten young are produced per litter. The young are weaned at about 5 weeks, and they are above ground foraging by June.
Ground squirrels compete with livestock for forage and can destroy food crops. The mounds of dirt that the squirrels excavate to build burrows can damage haying equipment. Their burrows also cause damage to grasslands, golf courses, sprinkler systems and lawns. Ground squirrels can act as carriers of Bubonic Plague.