Damage to Structures
Thirteen-lined ground squirrels are not known to damage structures. When chipmunks are present in large numbers they can cause structural damage by burrowing under patios, stairs, retention walls, and foundations.
Damage to Livestock and Pets
Thirteen-lined grounds squirrels pose minimal threat to livestock and pets.
Damage to Landscapes
Thirteen-lined ground squirrels dig up newly planted seeds, consume seeds that are sprouting, clip shoots of emerging plants, pull over wheat, barley, and oats to eat the grain, and damage vegetables in gardens, often damaging more than they consume.
Figure 6. Divots in the soil where 13-lined ground squirrels dug up corn seeds. White pen and white stalk point to their respective holes. Photo by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL).
Do not attempt to eliminate 13-lined ground squirrels, as their predation on crop-damaging insects provides an important benefit. Strive to manage populations of ground squirrels at levels where conflicts with humans are maintained at a tolerable level.
Health and Safety Concerns
Thirteen-lined ground squirrels generally do not pose a direct threat to humans or pets. They typically flee when approached. Thirteen-lined ground squirrels may contract bubonic plague, the disease responsible for the Black Death during the Middle Ages. All rodents are susceptible to Lyme disease.
The consumption of insects and field mice by 13-lined ground squirrels may provide some benefits to agriculture. However, 13-lined ground squirrels invade golf courses, parks, lawns, athletic fields, earthen dikes, cemeteries, and similar open grassy sites. Their burrowing and feeding activities can cause major economic and aesthetic damage.