squirrel extermination

The White-tailed Antelope Squirrel

Many people pay particular interest to the white-tailed antelope squirrel of all the ground squirrels that live in the desert. This is probably because these squirrels are commonly seen out in the sun no matter how hot the day is. This drives people curious about what they are really doing at such hot days. In general, these squirrels are relatively small; their eyes are lined with a white "ring" and the rear of their bodies also shows an obvious white mark. The back portion of their bodies appears dark and in most cases it is black in color, while their limbs are covered with bronze fur. The cheeks of the white-tailed antelope are bright and contrary to its name, most of them have black tails (but the underside is white). These squirrels use their tails as a form of sunshade so majority of the time, their tails are raised up.

These squirrels are named white-tail not because their tails are plain white. Like what has been said earlier, their tails are generally black but because they keep their tails raise up as a sunshade, the underside portion of their tail becomes obvious and visible, thus the name white-tailed. They have been distinguished from the Harris Antelope Squirrels with the use of the term "white-tailed" because both species practically look the same, with this specific characteristic as the major exception. Many of the white-tails can be seen in the Colorado River (the western portion) and their close relatives, the Harris Antelopes, reside in the eastern portion of the river. Since they live in deserts where food can be scarce, it is very common to see these squirrels "begging" for food to the tourists that come near the river. Many squirrels "beggars" are also found in the Nevada side of the Hoover dam.

The white-tailed antelopes also look like chipmunks, the very reason why many people often confuse them with the latter. But with a closer look, one can immediately notice that the two squirrels differ in the shades of their fur. The white-tailed antelope has brightly colored fur in the cheeks while the chipmunks do not. The antelopes also have a shite stripe on their side while the chipmunks have solid colors (with the exception of their chests). Moreover, the two squirrels do not habituate the same areas; antelope squirrels live in deserts with low elevations while the chipmunks prefer the mountains. Because the antelope squirrels live in the desert, they are most comfortable living underground where the temperature is cooler. They would dig their own burros which have openings that measures about 3 inches in diameter. If you see holes in the desert that are about this size, and then expect that the animal responsible is the antelope squirrel.

Scientifically speaking, these squirrels belong to the order Rodentia which is the order of all animals that gnaw like rats, mice, etc. The scientific name for the squirrel family is Sciuridae. Physically, both male and female antelope squirrels look the same. Unlike other species that have bigger males, male antelope squirrels are virtually of the same size as their female counterparts. Their tails measure about 3 inches in length only and their entire body is only about 6 inches. An average-sized antelope squirrel weighs about 5.5 ounces. Overall, these squirrels have 22 teeth and each female has 10 nipples (which suggest that it can support up to 10 infants at a time).

These squirrels normally breed during spring and summer. They would begin during the late spring season and then end at the beginning of summer. They can give birth to a maximum of 14 infants but in most cases, the maximum number of infants that survive is only 10 because they only have 100 nipples that can produce milk. Young antelope squirrels spend 6 to 7 weeks inside their underground nests and after this period, they would come out to start foraging. These squirrels stay with their parents for a year and then set out to start their own families.

Since these squirrels live in the desert, if they do not receive food from visiting tourists, they would feed on leaves and bugs which are plenty in their habitat. They are very good at locating bugs under rocks and even underground. They are considered as omnivore animals because they feed on insects and anthropoids too. Some of them where seen eating carrions. Apart from these, they also eat seeds, nuts and fruits -- depending on what is available around them. In general about 60% of their diet is composed of green vegetation, the rest are from bugs and insects. However during autumn, this dependence to green vegetation reduces to 20% and their anthropoid dependence would sour to about 35%. They are most active during day time and would normally stay inside their burrows at night. Amazingly, these squirrels can withstand temperatures that soar up to 180 degrees! That's enough heat to cause serious and fatal burns to humans. They are able to do this by using their tails as sunshades and by pushing their bellies into the ground. They are able to release the heat inside their bodies into the ground to cool down.

Life Patterns

White-tailed antelope squirrels are diurnal animals, meaning, they belong to the group of animals that do their activities during daytime and rests during night time. They are most active as the winter season is approaching, busy storing enough fats in their bodies as preparation for the hibernation that they would have to go through when the temperature drops to freezing point. They are extremely active at midday when the temperature is about 30 degrees Celsius. They begin their activities 1.5 hours after sunrise and continue to forage until about 1.5 hours before sunset. Experts were able to find out that the squirrels reduce activities by about 40% during winter season in order to save energy. The best habitats for these squirrels are in desert scrub, Joshua tree, pinyon-juniper, sagebrush, bitterbrush and the alkali desert scrub.
squirrel extermination