Ground Squirrels

There are many species of ground squirrel. Columbian Ground Squirrel, Rock Ground Squirrels, California Ground Squirrel, Franklin's Ground Squirrel and others. Columbian Ground Squirrels have a tawny face with a grayish to tawny body. The belly and feet are cinnamon type color. The California Ground Squirrel

These ground squirrels range in the Rocky Mountains from British Columbia and western Alberta. South along the Rocky Mountains into western Montana and central Idaho and west to south central British Columbia and eastern Washington and northeastern Oregon.

The California Ground Squirrle belly is mottled, the fur containing a mixture of gray, light brown and dusky hairs. They have whitish fur around the eyes and the hair around the ears is black. The tail is relatively bushy. They range from California up too Washington.

Ground squirrels prefer subalpine to alpine meadows with sandy to coarse substrates which allows for easier burrowing. They hibernate in the winter but in the milder areas they can be active year round.

Ground Squirrels consume a variety of forbs and grasses but they will consume invertebrates and carrion. The males will store seeds gathered in the fall when they are abundant for consumption in the spring.

Ground squirrels are considered an agricultural pest that competes with livestock for food. They are an intermediate host for the Rocky Mountain wood tick which can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever as well as bubonic plague.

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