Golden-mantled ground squirrel

Callospermophilus lateralis

The golden-mantled ground squirrel is a ground squirrel native to western North America. It is distributed in British Columbia and Alberta through the western United States to California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel Copperhead Callospermophilus lateralis,Geotagged,Golden-mantled ground squirrel,Spring,Squirrel,United States

Appearance

This ground squirrel is generally about 23 to 29 cm in length. It has whitish or yellow-gray underparts. The tail is brown to black with buff edges and a yellowish to reddish underside. It has pale rings around the eyes. The "mantle" across the shoulders is tawny to reddish, with males having a deeper reddish tinge. This species is distinguished from similar ground squirrels by a black-bordered white stripe down each side of the back.

Some authors describe many subspecies of this taxon.
Standing His Ground Golden-mantled ground squirrels are, most of the time, confused with chipmunks. However, you can easily tell them apart by their stripes. If the stripes reach their face, they are considered a chipmunk. For this ground squirrel, he has no stripes on his face, just a white eye ring. I enjoyed watching this little fella trying to identify what we were! (taken on the Natural Bridge Trail, YNP) Callospermophilus lateralis,Golden-mantled ground squirrel,Yellowstone National Park

Status

This is a common and widespread species that is not considered to be threatened.
Golden-mantled ground squirrel Found this guy munching on grass off the Natural Bridge trail, YNP. He didn't mind a little photo session or the fact I was maybe 5 feet away from him the whole time I was snapping pictures.  Callospermophilus lateralis,Golden-mantled ground squirrel,Yellowstone National Park

Behavior

This species occurs in forests, chaparral, meadow margins, and sagebrush, especially in areas with many rocks or forest litter that provides shelter. It is associated with many kinds of coniferous trees, aspen, and manzanita.

It is omnivorous, feeding on pine nuts, acorns, herbs and shrubs, fungi, many kinds of insects, eggs, young birds, lizards, carrion, and human foods when available. This species caches food near its burrow, especially during the late summer and fall.

This species hibernates over the winter. The breeding season commences when males and females emerge from hibernation in the spring. Most broods are born in July. A female has two to eight young per litter, with an average of five. There is no paternal care of the offspring. Juveniles resemble adults by 40 days of age. The life span of this ground squirrel is up to about seven years.

Most adults are independent, rarely cooperating, and usually competing for resources. They may assemble at sites with abundant food but develop a group hierarchy. Adults reside alone in burrows, creating nests for hibernation or rearing of young. This species has been known to nest in structures, such as roofs.

Predators of this squirrel include snakes, foxes, weasels, and bears. It may carry the Rocky Mountain wood tick, a vector of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other diseases.
Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel The golden-mantled ground squirrel is similar to chipmunks in more than just its appearance. Although it is a traditional hibernator, building up its body fat so to survive the winter asleep, it is also known to store some food in its burrow, like the chipmunk, for consumption upon waking in the spring. Both the golden-mantled ground squirrel and the chipmunk have cheek pouches for carrying food. Cheek pouches allow them to transport food back to their nests and still run at full speed on all fours. Callospermophilus lateralis,Geotagged,Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel,Golden-mantled ground squirrel,Summer,United States,ground squirrel

Habitat

This species occurs in forests, chaparral, meadow margins, and sagebrush, especially in areas with many rocks or forest litter that provides shelter. It is associated with many kinds of coniferous trees, aspen, and manzanita.

It is omnivorous, feeding on pine nuts, acorns, herbs and shrubs, fungi, many kinds of insects, eggs, young birds, lizards, carrion, and human foods when available. This species caches food near its burrow, especially during the late summer and fall.

This species hibernates over the winter. The breeding season commences when males and females emerge from hibernation in the spring. Most broods are born in July. A female has two to eight young per litter, with an average of five. There is no paternal care of the offspring. Juveniles resemble adults by 40 days of age. The life span of this ground squirrel is up to about seven years.

Most adults are independent, rarely cooperating, and usually competing for resources. They may assemble at sites with abundant food but develop a group hierarchy. Adults reside alone in burrows, creating nests for hibernation or rearing of young. This species has been known to nest in structures, such as roofs.

Predators of this squirrel include snakes, foxes, weasels, and bears. It may carry the Rocky Mountain wood tick, a vector of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other diseases.

References:

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Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderRodentia
FamilySciuridae
GenusCallospermophilus
SpeciesC. lateralis