Gray Squirrel (Sciurus caronilnensis)

I. Life Cycle

- Female, or sow, may produce two litters a year of 2-4 young.
- Major breeding periods between December-January and May-June.
- Male, or boar, will chase sow and compete for breeding rights.
- Utilize both tree cavities and leaf nests.
- Offspring will venture away from the nest at 8 weeks.
- Summer mated females may return to den tree cavity, but will usually seek new quarters.
- Summer leaf nests are used more often than tree cavities because of protective foliage of tree.

II. Factors Limiting Squirrel Population

- Squirrels in wild can live to six years.
- Has many natural predators but usually do not limit population numbers greatly.
- Scabies, caused by scabies mite, can be fatal to squirrels.
- Bot fly larvae is the most serious pest.
- Fleas, ticks and lice are also minor pests.
- Weather conditions are the most limiting factor in squirrel population.
- Too much rain, or lack thereof, at critical times during reproduction and weaning, can reduce populations.

III. Food Source

- Heavy seeded masts (fruits from trees and shrubs) particularly acorns.
- When heavy mast not available, will feed on other berries, roots, bark, buds, mushrooms and animal matter.
- 1.5 lbs of mast per week needed for each squirrel from September-March.
- Order of mast preference: hickory nuts, beech nuts, white oak acorns, black oak acorns.

IV. Cover Requirements

- Hollow den trees essential for survival over winter months.
- Leaf nests only temporarily shelters in summer months.
- Prefer stands with heavy canopy cover.

V. Squirrel Control in Structure

- Begins with a thorough inspection of conducive conditions (tree limbs), entry points, evidence of activity and damage.
- Structural damage and chewed wires are a major concern.
- Trap placement and daily inspection for activity.
- Trapped squirrels must be released in the same geographic area due to concerns of disease spreading.
- Exclusion of entry points.


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