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Ground Squirrel vs. Tree Squirrel: A Complete Guide To Identifying And Eliminating

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Squirrels are arguably the cutest of all rodents. It’s still hard for us to understand how these cute little animals are so similar to rats and mice. But even squirrels can be subcategorized into different species, the main ones being ground and tree squirrels.

Ground squirrels and Tree squirrels might look similar at first. Some might say that since both of these are squirrels, they’re practically the same, right? Funnily enough, that’s far from the case, as these two have very distinct differences that you’ll notice once you take a better look at them.

So, today, we’ll be putting them up against each other: Ground Squirrel vs. Tree Squirrel. Instead of an actual fight, we’ll focus on their differences and how you can get rid of each one. We know both of these like the back of our palms, as most of their species are local to SoCal, our base of operations. For now, though, let’s see what these actually are.

What Are Ground Squirrels

Ground squirrels are not just one species of rodents; they’re actually a collective of all the kinds of animals that look like squirrels and live on the ground… or underground, to be exact. And that’s where their name comes from.

Their main characteristic is that they live in burrows, which can get really deep and long. It’s in these channels that colonies of Ground squirrels excel, as they have a very complicated hierarchy, which is fascinating to think about.

What Are Tree Squirrels

As their name suggests, Tree squirrels live on trees. And this is also the best way to distinguish them from their Ground siblings. Like them, the term Tree squirrel is used for a few different species, including flying squirrels.

That being said, we’ve noticed that Ground squirrels tend to show up in backyards more often than Tree ones. So, let’s actually see how these two differ from each other.

Differences Between Ground Squirrels and Tree Squirrels

For starters, we’ve found a very simple way to see if you’re dealing with Ground or Tree squirrels. The moment they see you, they’ll either run toward a tree or a burrow. And while both types can be found on trees and the ground, the area they go to when they’re scared (usually their nest or burrow) indicates their type.

However, these two also have distinct features that can help you tell them apart.

Size

Ground squirrels are the biggest of the bunch, both in length and weight. While most Tree squirrels won’t be heavier than a couple of pounds, Ground ones can weigh up to 18 lbs.

In terms of their length, a Ground squirrel is usually double or triple the size of a Tree squirrel, with some being as long as 28 inches.

Color

Ground squirrels have colors that resemble their habitat, like brown and gray. This helps them hide from predators while out in the open, as they blend perfectly with dirt. Their color and fur pattern bears a resemblance to chipmunks, even though they don’t have stripes on their head.

Tree squirrels, on the other hand, come in a plethora of colors. From the aforementioned brown and gray to black and red, what’s interesting about these is that they have a cream-colored belly, contrasting with the rest of their body.

Tail

Since Tree squirrels need to be on the move, jumping from tree to tree, they have larger, bushier tails, which help them in terms of balance. Ground squirrels also have somewhat bushy tails, but they’re thinner and not as full as Tree squirrels’ tails.

Habitat

As we hinted at above, one of the biggest differences between Ground and Tree squirrels is their habitat. As their names suggest, the former lives in underground burrows, while the latter makes nests in trees.

This is significant, though, as it allows us to understand where these might hide in your house, and help you get rid of squirrels, no matter their type.

How to Get Rid of Ground Squirrels

To get rid of Ground squirrels, you first need to understand where they can be found in your house. Thankfully, as they like to build burrows, Ground squirrels will only wreak havoc in your backyard.

To repel them, you can use a couple of home treatments, like homemade pepper spray or castor oil. If you have a dog or cat, they will also deter them. And you can always set a live trap and call us up to free them far away from your house.

How to Get Rid of Tree Squirrels

Tree squirrels are much harder to get rid of, and you’ll probably need to consult squirrel control services. Because of their habitat, these will make your attic their house. And getting rid of squirrels in your attic is fairly dangerous. Plus, if they keep staches of their acorns around, you might end up having a few rats join the party, bringing many rodent diseases along with them.

We’ll Help You With Get Rid of Squirrels in Southern California

While Ground and Tree squirrels have their differences, none of the two are really a good bunch to have around your house. So, if you want to get rid of squirrels and you’re in SoCal, look no further than us.

At Green Rodent Restoration, we’ll help you with any kind of rodent infestation you’re dealing with and remove the rodents the green way. Contact us now for a free estimate!

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