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Archive for the 'Ground squirrels' Category

Albino ground squirrel spotted in Livermore

Albino ground squirrel in Livermore, CA. Photo by Frank Jurik, Pleasanton, CA
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Gary:
Thought I’d send you a couple of pictures of a unusual albino ground squirrel that I have seen several times in Livermore’s Holdener Park.
Don’t know how rare these are but as a long-time bike rider and hiker in the Livermore Valley I have never seen one.  It took several attempts to get close enough to get these shots.  The area that he/she inhabits is home to a very large population of ground squirrels and also raptors.   It amazing that he has survived so long as he stands out so clearly in the brown grass compared to the others.  Must be a smart one.
Frank Jurik, Pleasanton, California

Frank:
First albino ground squirrel I’ve seen. Interesting that it has such a large tail for a ground squirrel. Almost looks like a tree squirrel.  I suspect the birds of prey are a little confused and maybe frightened by that big white squirrel running around in the field and maybe a little cautious about trying to catch it. Unusual things like that sometimes cause predators to back off a little. At least the birds of prey. Not sure that would make any difference to a hungry coyote. Let’s hope the squirrel is also a smart one. /Gary

Posted on Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
Under: Albino, Ground squirrels | 1 Comment »

Rodent pest control: Use caution when using poison bait

Ground squirrel. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA.
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More problems with using poison to control rodents. There’s the risk of secondary poisoning of wildlife and pets as suggested in the DFG news release below. There is also the risk of direct poisoning of wildlife and pets around your house and yard when you use these poisons.

Rats and mice sometimes carry pieces of poison bait from supposedly safe bait stations used around your home and leave these pieces of poison bait lying in unprotected places in your yard or house where pets (or children!), or other wild creatures can find them.  If you must control rodents, I recommend using traps and NOT poisons. /Gary

DFG News, Aug. 17, 2010:
Wildlife Experts Issue Warning about Controlling Rodent Pests with Poison

State and county officials remind Californians to use caution when using poison baits (rodenticides) to control rodent pests. Careless use of these chemicals has injured and killed wildlife and pets throughout the state.
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Posted on Wednesday, August 18th, 2010
Under: Ground squirrels, Pest control, Pesticide, Pets & Poisons, Poison, Rat poison | 3 Comments »

Lindsay Wildlife Museum: help them name their ground squirrel

Lindsay Wildlife Museum ground squirrel. Lindsay photo.
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The California ground squirrel is oft-maligned for its propensity to dig holes where we don’t want them and to occasionally dine on gardeners’ tasty plants.

Many other California natives, however, depend on ground squirrels. They are an important food source for golden eagles and rattlesnakes and are also eaten by coyotes, foxes, large hawks, and gopher snakes.
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Posted on Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
Under: Ground squirrels, Lindsay Wildlife Museum | 3 Comments »

Poisoning Ground Squirrels — is it right?

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My column in the Times today (Sunday, Oct. 12) contains a letter from Kelly Adams of Clayton, California, complaining about two men from the Contra Costa County Department of Agriculture, who she caught scattering poison to eradicate ground squirrels in the open space on the slopes of Mount Diablo on the other side of her back fence.

Needless to say Kelly was more than a little upset at this.
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Posted on Sunday, October 12th, 2008
Under: Ground squirrels, Mount Diablo, Poison | 16 Comments »