Ground squirrel

ground squirrel
California ground squirrel
   The ground squirrel is a terrestrial squirrel widely distributed throughout western North America from Alaska to Mexico. Numerous species are found, many of them being so much alike that identification is sometimes difficult. The common ground squirrel, Citellus columbianus, is a stout-bodied animal with short legs and a short, moderately bushy tail. It measures about 15 inches in length and is a combination of grizzled yellow, gray, and black above with buffy or yellow under parts. Insects, nuts, seeds, grain, and other vegetation comprise its food. When especially abundant, the ground squirrel may become a serious threat to the farmer.
   The various species of ground squirrels inhabit a variety of environments—plains, meadows, prairies, and even deserts. Some of them live in large colonies. Ground squirrels are burrowing animals, seldom wandering far from Ihe burrow, and in winter hibernate within it. Usually 5 to 13 young are born at a time. Among the more familiar ground squirrels are the 13- stripped ground squir­rel, C. tridecimlineatus; the California ground squirrel, C. grammurus; Richardson's ground squirrel, C. richardsonii; and the Wyoming or Great Plains ground squirrel, C. elegans.