How To Spot A Ground Squirrel Problem In Oakland

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If you live in Oakland and you don’t know what a ground squirrel is you may be living under a rock which (not coincidentally) is where these squirrels are often found living.

Ground squirrels prefer to live in the ground and tunneling under a large rock or cement slab is as good a place as any for a little squirrel to create its burrow. But this can cause a lot of damage. Concrete rests on the support of compacted ground.

As these squirrels excavate compacted soil, the concrete can be compromised. This kind of damage can’t be patched up. You’ll need to jackhammer the concrete, remove it, put frames down, and pour new concrete.

As you can imagine, this isn’t cheap. So it is important to detect ground squirrel activity quickly.

Here are a few tips to help you spot a ground squirrel problem.

ground squirrel damage pool

Entrances To Burrows

If you have ground squirrels under the structures on your property, you may see the entrances to their burrows. These will be about the size of your hand and you might be able to slip your hand and arm down into the hole. You’ll find these holes in many locations. Some will be right out in the open. Some may be under retaining walls or the foundations of structures. Some may be in the root structure underneath trees. You may find them near walkways. In a few short years, you can start seeing them all across your property.


Sometimes you won’t see entrance holes. You may only see dirt that has been excavated from the tunnels. Ground squirrels can push dirt out in a similar manner to gophers, but gophers tend to create a pile that is much more of a fan shape, and the pile is closer to the hole. The dirt pushed out of ground squirrel tunnels will usually be concentrated into a tighter area and out away from the hole. If you notice dirt being pushed out from underneath a structure on your property, it is definitely time to contact a licensed trapper and have an inspection performed, no matter what animal is pushing the dirt out.


One of the easiest ways to spot a ground squirrel problem is to spot a ground squirrel running around on your property. These squirrels are quite visible. They can also be quite friendly. They have so much interaction with people, they can act almost like pets. But don’t let their friendliness fool you into thinking that they are good to have around. Those friendly squirrels can cost you an arm and a leg.


A ground squirrel is between 14 and 20 inches long. This length includes its tail. It has a mottled brown coloration on its black with some white and gray speckles. Its underside is a lighter colored mix of tan, gray and white. When spooked, a ground squirrel will retreat to a ground hole. Tree squirrels will scramble up a tree. This is one way to tell them apart.

Professional Ground Squirrel Trapping

If you live in Oakland, or somewhere in our San Francisco Bay service area, let the experts at Smith’s Pest Management help you resolve your ground squirrel problem. We specialize in the control of ground-dwelling pests and we have the resources to address your problem, no matter how big. We’ve been called on to protect golf courses. That’s a lot of acreage to cover, but our team gets it done. We’ve also assisted vineyards in controlling these destructive pests. We offer ground squirrel trapping, ground squirrel fumigation, and ground squirrel baiting. You can call on us to arrest a current infestation or to provide your property with year-round ground squirrel protection.

Contact us today for a free quote. We’ll send a licensed wildlife control technician to your property to perform a no-obligation inspection and provide you with a quote for services. This will give you the insight you need to take the next step. Reach out to us anytime. We’re standing by to assist you with this important protection for your property.

Nancy G. - Atherton, CA

“For years I’ve raised all the produce in my garden that we eat in our home. One year we started having gopher problems. When I contacted a local pest control company they wanted to use poison which we did not agree with. Smiths offered a non toxic and effective approach to getting rid of my gophers, moles, and rats.”