SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (The Daily Dish) – As temperatures rise and people start spending more time outdoors, furry creatures are causing some trouble in homeowners’ lawns.

Dr. Nicki Frey, an Extension Professor in the Wildland Resources Department of Utah State University, says that fox squirrels are a non-native species that has migrated from the eastern United States to Utah. While some may refer to them as invasive species, Dr. Frey describes them as non-native rather than truly invasive.

For those unfamiliar with fox squirrels, they have a reddish-brown coloration and usually like to live in tall trees. They are about two feet long, larger than the native red squirrels, which are brown with a white belly and only measure about one foot in length.

Homeowners may wonder about the damage fox squirrels can cause to their yards. Dr. Frey explains that while their activities can be a nuisance, the resulting damage is mostly minor. These squirrels may nibble on bark during winter when food is scarce, and they enjoy the taste of certain fruits, making them a potential threat to fruit trees.

Preventing fox squirrels from accessing yards can be challenging due to the abundance of trees and their ability to travel from one tree to another effortlessly. Dr. Frey suggests keeping trees pruned away from houses and using hoop nets or netting to cover beds and gardens, effectively keeping the squirrels at bay. These preventive measures, although not foolproof, can help mitigate the nuisance caused by fox squirrels.