Squirrels are omnivores–they eat seeds, nuts, leaves, bulbs, roots, mushrooms, insects, worms, eggs, small birds, and other small animals. They are rodents that have hairy tails and strong hind legs; there are over 350 species of squirrels worldwide.In the eastern U.S. and adjacent Canada the common "park squirrel" is the eastern gray squirrel. All members of the squirrel family except the flying squirrels are diurnal, which means they are active during the day–this is rare among wild mammals!
Squirrels are considered pests when they enter homes and buildings to nest; when they raid birdfeeders; when they feed on gardens, trees and landscape plantings; and when they dig holes in gardens and lawns to bury and retrieve food.
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Identification and Control Information
- Integrated Pest Management for Home Gardeners and Landscape Professionals: Tree Squirrels (PDF)—University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources
- When Squirrels Become a Nuisance—Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources
- Preventing and Dealing with Nuisance Wildlife Encounters (PDF)—Ohio Department of Natural Resources
- Dealing with Nuisance Wildlife (PDF)—University of Maryland Cooperative Extension
[Photos, left to right: Michael Mengak, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org; Joseph LaForest, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org; USDA Forest Service - Northeastern Area Archive, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org]