why are we suddenly seeing (pine?) squirrels around Palisades?

We've been coming to our cabin on Palisades for the past ten years and this is the first time squirrels have been a problem. They are fun to watch, but they are digging into our crawlspace!
Friends in Alpine are also commenting on the sudden invasion. I realize these small creatures are hardly "Game" animals, but can you tell us where they are coming from? Is the drought in the middle of the country driving them to the mountains?
Thanks for your help,


The pine squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) is a protected nongame species in Idaho. They are found in most conifer and mixedwoods forests with significant stem densities and canopy closure including thethroughout Palisades Range. Pine Squirrels depend heavily on conifer seeds and terminal buds of conifers for food,  but will eat fungi and occasionally small birds. They are highly territorial and, other than a very short breeding season, exclude all other pine squirrels from their territory, therefore, concentrations of squirrels, other than females with litters, are unusual. Litter size can vary dramatically based on age and condition of the breeding female and availability of food resources. Litters of up to 10 are possible. These squirrels are not new to the Palisades area. They may be moving closer to homes due to good cone production  in the area due to normal cycles in cone production; ordue  maturation of trees in the area. You may give me a call if you want to discuss this further. Our Regional Office Number in Idaho Falls is 208 525-7290.
Rob cavallaro, Regional Wildlife Biologist
Upper Snake Regional Office, Idaho Falls.

Answered on: 
Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 2:26 PM MDT