13-Lined Ground Squirrels

Facts, Identification & Removal

Latin Name

Spermophilus tridecemilineatus


What do they look like?
ground squirrel

Ground squirrels have shorter, less bushy tails and live underground. In fact, they’re sometimes called gophers (especially in the Midwest).

These are nervous, excitable pests who prefer to stay close to home. They are, typically, found near burrows. Logically, the thirteen-lined ground squirrel is an excellent digger. This is one reason it spends time underground.

How Did I Get 13-Lined Ground Squirrels?

The 13-lined ground squirrel seeks out lawns, recreational areas, golf courses and other preferred habitat with plentiful food sources and room to burrow. They prefer open, grassy areas, but often dig under sheds, garages, and porches. Although it is rare, a 13-lined ground squirrel may find its way into a garage or basement through holes in the foundation or under a poorly fitting garage door seals.

How Serious Are 13-Lined Ground Squirrels?

These squirrels prey upon many species of ornamental and agricultural pests, but the 13-lined ground squirrel burrows can be a tripping hazard in public areas, and the pests’ digging causes damage in yards. Because they eat plants and seeds, these animals can also destroy gardens. In addition, the 13-lined ground squirrel carries fleas and ticks that can cause populations of these Arthropods to occur in their habitats.

How Do You Get Rid of Them?

Orkin Wildlife Removal Services
If thirteen-lined ground squirrels have invaded an area of land near to you, they can be controlled where permitted. Some states have restrictions on control methods permitted, and control activities may require a permit. The squirrel may be protected to varying degrees by some states.

As always, it’s recommended to consult an Orkin pest control professional near you prior to attempting to control any pest population.

Signs of a Ground Squirrel Infestation

Ground squirrels are most known for their damage to plants. Their feeding damage as well as soil disturbed by their digging are the most likely signs, besides seeing the squirrels themselves.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Where do they live?
The thirteen-lined ground squirrel is a common pest in and around building foundations, golf courses, gardens and lawns. Preferred habitats of the thirteen-lined ground squirrel are open fields and brushy areas.

When are they active?
Their primary seasons for activity are early spring until mid fall. When inactive, the ground squirrel is hibernating underground. Upon emerging in the spring, the first order of duty is to mate. It takes about a month before females give birth.

What do they eat?
Their diet consists mostly of seeds, fruits, roots, green vegetation and insects. This presents problems in cultivated areas where there are newly planted seeds and other vegetation for ready consumption.


Females give birth to an average of 10 offspring. They produce one litter per year. The young become sexually mature after nine to 10 months.

More Information

The thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Spermophilus tridecemilineatus) is a member of order Rodentia and family Sciuridae. Although the mention of a squirrel may conjure thoughts of a gray rodent with bushy tail performing acrobatics in a tree, the ground squirrel is quite different. This family member is more a distant cousin of the daredevil we are most familiar with.