Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
The Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus lateralis), lives in all types of forests across North America. The Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel is abundant throughout its range and is equally at home in a wide variety of forest habitats as well as rocky meadows, and even sagebrush flats. It eats seeds, nuts, berries, insects, and underground fungi. It is eaten by hawks, jays, weasels, foxes, bobcats, and coyotes.
A typical creature ranges from 9 – 12 inches in length. The Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel can be identified by its chipmunk-like stripes and coloration, but unlike chipmunks, it lacks any facial stripes. It is commonly found living in the same habitat as Uinta Chipmunks. 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.
A Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel uses its cheek pouches to carry food, while retaining full mobility. Cheek pouches allow them to transport food back to their nests and still run at full speed on all fours. Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels dig shallow burrows up to 100 ft in length with the openings hidden in a hollow log or under tree roots or a boulder. The female gives birth to a single litter of 4″“6 young each summer.