Squirrels

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Tree squirrels were not a problem in Davis until the 1990's. First reports of damage in gardens came in from southeast Davis and El Macero. Within a couple of years tree squirrels were throughout South Davis, then East Davis. By the mid-2000's tree squirrels were in Central and North Davis, and now damage reports come from all parts of town.

Tree_Squirrel.JPGMarch 2007, west of Tercero

Squirrels may be the second most populous large animal after ducks in the arboretum. (In fact, if you count ground squirrels and arboreal squirrels in the same category (much as all ducks could be lumped together), there are probably a lot more squirrels.) Easily the most visible rodent species in Davis, the fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) makes its home in trees all around the city. While most (if not all) of the squirrels in Davis are brown, some areas (notably [WWW]Marysville, KS and Washington DC) have significant populations of black squirrels (they are the same species, just a different color).

Their name is actually quite poetic. It derives from an ancient Greek word meaning "shadow tailed".

Both ground squirrels and tree squirrels can damage plants and crops. Ground squirrels are a problem on farms, while tree squirrels harm garden and landscape plants in town. Tree squirrels are a protected game species, so they can only be killed during squirrel hunting season. They are considered edible. Ground squirrels are not protected. They don't taste good.
[WWW]Management guidelines here.
Tree squirrels were not a problem in Davis until the 1990's. First reports of damage in gardens came in from southeast Davis and El Macero. Within a couple of years tree squirrels were throughout South Davis, then East Davis. By the mid-2000's tree squirrels were in Central and North Davis, and now damage reports come from all parts of town.

Tree squirrels are extremely numerous on the UCD campus, spawning the Fox Squirrel Contraceptive Research Project. The project has two key objectives: to reduce the campus fox squirrel population before they cause problems, and to test a new birth-control drug that wildlife biologists hope will help them manage other mammals that are pests in some places, such as deer and ground squirrels. The goal "is to limit their ecological and human-health impacts as effectively and humanely as possible." [WWW]This article has further details.

Tree Squirrels

(Sciurus niger aka Eastern Fox Squirrel, Introduced species from the Eastern United States)

quad_dude.jpgA squirrel in the quad. squirl05b.jpg squirl03.jpg tree_squirrel_a.jpgStop looking at me! s1.jpg s2.jpgJuly 4th, 2013 was hot. DavisSquirrel.jpgJ Street Davis Squirrel by Constantia Oomen

tree_squirrel_b.jpgA snack in the trees.

squirrel_climbing.jpg ground_squirrel_d.jpgHello!

(Scuirus griseus aka Western Gray Squirrel, Native to the Western United States)
white_belly_squirrel.jpgAnother type of squirrel (inhabiting Lake Solano Park).

Ground Squirrels

(Citellis beecheyi aka California Ground Squirrel)
squirrel_peek.JPGA squirrel peeking from bushes in the arboretum. squirrel.jpgThey seem to do that a lot. squirl02.jpgyeah this is what they do most of the time ground_squirrel_a.jpgOne last peek before he ducks into his hole.

ground_squirrel_b.jpgHiding under a bush in the Arboretum. ground_squirrel_c.jpgGround squirrels are responsible for holes in the ground all over the Arboretum.

see also: Squirrel Fishing

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2005-03-02 12:37:19   They're so cute. Too bad they're savage, rabies-infected beasts. —SummerSong

According to an AP article on USA Today's website, "Rabid squirrels are extremely rare, with only eight reported cases since 1950."


2005-08-15 11:44:21   In the Philadelphia Suburbs, they're often referred to as "Goddamned Bird Feeder Tree Rats." —BlancheNonken


2005-11-27 20:51:52   I love all the frickin squirrels in Davis. They're spastic and vicious. :) —AubreyJohnson


2006-02-17 21:19:16   As my sister says, "rats with bushy tails" —MatthewTom


2006-02-17 21:49:21   Fact: baby squirrels are called kittens —KrisFricke


2007-03-24 22:57:47   10 years ago there were no tree squirrels on campus. Maybe they were in other parts of Davis (I don't think so) but certainly not on campus. Where did they come from? —JimEvans


2007-05-12 21:32:38   Someone could have brought some squirrels onto campus in hopes of starting a population on campus. Some people did that with Black Squirrels at Kent State. Pretty soon Black Squirrels took over and became the unofficial mascots of the school. (There are some black ones in Palo Alto)—Jedron


2007-05-16 13:24:22   The other day I saw two bluebirds fighting a squirrel. The birds were jumping around on the ground and then swooping up and attacking the squirrel and the squirrel swatting at them. Also, I once saw a squirrel beatboxing around 5 or 6 in the morning. It was frightening. —BrianTrott


2007-05-16 13:29:36   One more story involving Davis squirrels. A couple weeks ago I was biking and I biked passed a dead squirrel with a crow pecking at it. Then the crow flew away and the squirrel was runover by an SUV. This bothered me, because it was my birthday and I think that has to be some sort of bad omen. —BrianTrott


2007-05-17 08:59:50   I think its cool when the squirrels on campus at the MU run around the trees at high rates of speed. Do you think they get dizzy?... —MyaBrn


2007-05-17 19:29:15   It's nice to see a resurgence in the squirril population, cats had then pretty much under control for quite some time —StevenDaubert


2008-04-09 17:14:28   Has anyone seen the wierd squirrel with that crazy eye problem? What is up with that?!? Freaky! —emargie


2008-10-14 14:14:05   So what do we do now? Should we start an erradication program? —rgrasso


2008-10-14 19:57:00   Davis squirrels are so cute! I always wondered if the ground squirrel was a squirrel, I was calling them squirrelmunks, across between a chipmunk and a squirrel.

There is a red mouthed squirrel who lives in my walnut tree, that little jerk is always peeling walnuts over my doorstep and dropping them on the roof. He also barks at me and my cats on weekends, very rude. Is a barking vicious squirrel exhibiting symptoms of rabies, or is this normal behavior? Squirrel fights can also be quite loud, downright ferocious. —CarrieBishop


2008-10-15 01:18:44   No worries about rabies from squirrels. The raspy "barking" is normal behavior. They do it when startled or feeling threatened. According to the U.S. government CDC site: Small rodents (e.g., squirrels, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, chipmunks, rats, and mice) and lagomorphs (including rabbits and hares) are almost never found to be infected with rabies and have not been known to transmit rabies to humans.
[WWW]http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/exposure/types.htmlAprilAries


2008-10-15 07:22:07   Squirrels in California are carriers of bubonic plague on the other hand. —NickSchmalenberger


2008-10-15 15:24:58   Yes, rodents can carry the bacteria Yersinia pestis, which is also known as bubonic plague, but it is the fleas that bite the rodents, and then bite a human that transmits it. So, you aren't going to get it by being attacked by a vicious squirrel. You would have to be bitten by fleas that had bitten an infected rodent.

According to our govt's CDC website: Q. Who is at risk for getting plague?
A. Outbreaks in people occur in areas where housing and sanitation conditions are poor. These outbreaks can occur in rural communities or in cities. They are usually associated with infected rats and rat fleas that live in the home.

Our area in Northern California is listed as reporting 1 case from 1970-1997.
[WWW]http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/plague/qa.htmAprilAries


2008-10-15 20:52:08   these guys have taken over the town over the past 5 years. its rediculous. —ChrisWaterstraat


2008-10-15 20:54:06   I <3 squirrels. :)


2008-10-21 19:10:00   I say we take the town back, who's with me! —rgrasso


2008-11-03 10:49:12   Hormones for those little invaders. Killing them would be much more effective.

[WWW]http://www.ktla.com/content_landing_page/?CA-University-Launches-Squirrel-Birth-Co=1&blockID=124048&feedID=1080JimEvans


2009-04-02 22:33:13   someone please explain .. I swear I saw a squirrel near Mrak Hall the other day with the number 14 on its rump in black. Is there some kind of survey or experiment going on or have I just been watching wayyyyy too much Lost? Some of the other ones on campus seems to have weird black burn or paint marks on their rear ends, but I haven't seen any other numbers. Maybe I was hallucinating .... —LaFrance


2009-08-18 13:12:13   Tree rats, not to be confused with pigeons which are winged rats. Philadelphia suburbs have every possible variant of rats. —AndrewSaint


2010-06-09 20:56:10   Yes, the squirrels around Mrak Hall are part of the Fox Squirrel Contraceptive research project (why's there no page for this?). They're marked with dyes for identification. —skurniaw


2010-09-30 15:11:25   The squirrels have eaten one of the pumpkins I put by the front door! Rotten things - these were grown by my mother-in-law for my young son. Is there any way to deter the critters from destroying the other pumpkin? Painting it with toxic chemicals? —NoelBruening


2010-09-30 18:57:41   Squirrels are just rats with bigger tails. Here in Upstate NY, at my old place the squirrels used to throw acorns at my wife and our dogs as she walked them —Users/PeterBoulay


2010-12-27 19:33:26   I think I saw a squirrel with a shaved tail on campus. I saw it near Hart Hall and Wellman, and it looked terrified. I was wondering if their was some rat-tailed breed or something, but I really think someone just caught the poor thing and shaved its tail. How sad. —Michellaneous

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