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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Squirrel Meeting

My neighbor hosted a meeting of some Riverside residents who are having trouble with squirrels stripping their fruit trees.  Some of the residents lamented the fact that they haven't been able to harvest their fruit for the past couple years because the squirrels eat all of it before it ripens.
We live in an older part of Riverside that has large old trees and those parts seem to have the highest population.   The meeting was held with a ecologist from the Riverside County vector control department.   The council member for our ward, Mike Gardner also attended to explain city code regarding squirrels.

The city use to have the gray squirrel as the main species of squirrel and the population was low and they weren't considered pests.
Here is a picture of the gray squirrel.


Over the past couple years, the gray squirrel has been replaced by the fox squirrel,  which is considered a invasive species.   The Riverside municipal code regarding birds, mammals, and squirrels, and it stated this was unlawful to harm or kill gray or fox squirrels.  
The ecologist basically stated that they are hard, if not impossible to completely eradicate the gray squirrel.   Some possible solutions were discussed as covering the trees with some kind of netting, but it was felt that they could chew through.   Many of the participants who have lives in the city for many years stated that they are a new presence and seem to be increasing in numbers.
The ecologist also stated that the fox or gray squirrel do not vector any diseases.

Here is a picture of a fox squirrel.  You can see the main difference is the coloring and they are also a bit larger than the gray squirrel



The crowd at this meeting was definitely anti squirrel.  Many of them stated that they didn't want to eradicate all of them,   They just wanted a reasonable way to control the population.  
Some probably had this in mind -



My issue isn't really the gray or fox squirrel , its the california ground squirrel.  Luckily, they are not protected and can be removed by various means.  They also are known to carry fleas that vector the plague.   They also are very destructive for farmers.
They cleaned out a entire row of cabbage plants (250-300 plants)   I am declaring war on them and will detail my battles on this blog.  There are already a couple ground squirrel traps on the property so give you details of my battles with them.
Here is a picture of the scoundrel.