Gopher (ground squirrel)

   The gopher is a burrowing ground squirrel, native in the prairie regions of North America. The latter name is much to be preferred. There are several species, bearing a general resemblance to the chipmunk, but exceeding it in size. The striped ground squirrel has about thirteen lines of color running the length of its back, dirty white stripes alternating with rows of dark spots on a yellowish ground. A western species is much like it only larger. A gray species is found from Illinois north-westward. This squirrel excavates long burrows, extending beneath the reach of frost, and stores considerable quantities of prairie seeds. It is troublesome to farmers in a newly settled country. It sleeps away the winter in a snug nest well lined with grasses. The little animal has a fashion of sitting upon its haunches to see what is going on. When on a trip from burrow to field it scampers along for a few yards, then sits up to look about and resumes its journey. When a bit of prairie is freshly burned, well worn gopher paths may be discovered running here and there. On bright spring days the gopher delights to sit up near its burrow and whistle defiance to the world of care. The name gopher is French, and may be given to any bur­rowing animal; hence its application to the Louisiana gopher, which is a tortoise that takes shelter by burrowing in the sand.

ground squirrel