Welcome to the Southern California Squirrel Survey!

I’m Jim Dines, a mammalogist at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. My colleague, Miguel Ordeñana, and I established this project to improve what is known about the distribution of squirrels in southern California. Your contributed observations will help!

Did you know that the eastern fox squirrels commonly observed in southern California are not native to the area? As their common name implies, these tree squirrels were introduced from the eastern United States about 100 years ago. We’re interested in tracking the expansion of this introduced species, but we also hope to gain valuable insight into what is happening when the introduced eastern fox squirrel comes into contact with the native western gray squirrel. Both are large bushy-tailed tree squirrels but you can tell them apart by their color: eastern gray squirrels have reddish-brown fur and are commonly seen in urban and suburban neighborhoods; western gray squirrels have silver-gray fur and live in the forested areas of our mountains and foothills.

We’re also interested in observations of other squirrel species in southern California. The northern flying squirrel is a small brown-gray nocturnal species found in the conifer forests of the San Bernardino Mountains. The lodgepole chipmunk and Merriam’s chipmunk can be difficult to tell apart, but both can be found in parts of southern California. There are also several ground squirrel species that occur in southern California: the California ground squirrel, the antelope ground squirrel, the round-tailed ground squirrel, and the Mojave ground squirrel.

We welcome photo submissions of all the above species, but we hope you’ll tell us more about your observations. Was the squirrel vocalizing, eating, or interacting with another animal? In what kind of habitat was it seen? The more detailed the observation, the better. Thanks for participating!

Publicado por jdines jdines, 18 de septiembre de 2013


Hi Jim,

Please contact me. sharon.reevelamesa@gmail.com

I believe Eastern Squirrels just moved into our area in La Mesa. If they are non-native I am not happy about that. We never had squirrels of any kind before and I saw one on the deck today. I do not feed the birds or anything. I hope you can shed some light on what species I am seeing. Thanks, Sharon

Publicado por chezron hace casi 8 años (Marca)

Hi, Great project! I am a volunteer for the Pacific Grove Natural History Museum in Central CA Coast. Last year a Museum Monarch Docent observed an Eastern Fox Squirrel eating adult monarchs! Curious, with your squirrel knowledge - what you think about that behavior. Thanks for your citizen science work.
best, elayne

Publicado por elayne_a hace más de 4 años (Marca)

Hello Jim, I do not know if this project is still active. However, in case it is, I wanted to inform you that we now have Fox Squirrels in our Live Oak, Macadamia and pine tree at our nearby rental house in Encanto, which is a community in San Diego. I have never seen these squirrels before this last summer, 2021. I have seen at least two, and was notified of a baby squirrel which fell out of the tree. In any case, I will have to find a way to get rid of them since they are invasive and now we have no more edible macadamia nuts nor have I seen any acorns on our oak. We also have a young Pinus quadrifolia which should start producing pine nuts any year now and I want to propagate the tree through seedlings. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thank you.

Publicado por mariehunrichs hace 3 meses (Marca)

Hello! Yes, the project is still active (although I'm apparently a little slow in answering messages--sorry about that!). Thanks for the information about eastern fox squirrels now extending their range into Encanto.

As far as removing these pesky non-natives, you can hire a pest control company to trap and remove the squirrels on your property, but I'm afraid that is a temporary fix. Other squirrels will eventually move in and take the place of the removed ones -- especially with those wonderful trees that you have. Once they have become established in a neighborhood, that's pretty much it. This is especially true if other folks in the neighborhood "like" the squirrels being around and leave peanuts and other goodies out for them.

You can trap the squirrels yourself using this Havahart Livetrap:

Use peanuts, corn chips, pretty much anything for bait... but then you need to somehow get rid of the trapped squirrels. Technically, it's illegal to release trapped squirrels anywhere so I can't advise you on what to do once you trap a squirrel. A regular program of trapping is probably the only way you'll be able to harvest your macadamia and pine trees.

Good luck, and let me know how it goes!
Jim Dines

Publicado por jdines hace alrededor de 2 meses (Marca)

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