Uinta Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus armatus)
Yellowstone National Park
Uinta Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus armatus)Identification
• 11–12 inches long 7–10 ounces.
• Grayish back and rump with fine white spots on back; nose and shoulders are tan to cinnamon; tail is grayish underneath.
• Found in disturbed or heavily grazed grasslands, sagebrush meadows, and mountain meadows up to 11,000 feet.
• Eat grasses, forbs, mushrooms, insects, and carrion (including road-killed members of its own species).
• Preyed on by long-tailed weasels, hawks, coyotes, badgers.
• Hibernate as early as mid-July through March.
• Breed in early spring; one litter of 6 to 8 young per year.
• Young, after they leave the burrow, are vulnerable to long-tailed weasels and hawks.
• During cool spring weather, Uinta ground squirrels active at all times of day, as the weather warms activity more limited to morning, late afternoon, and evening.
• During winter, Uinta ground squirrels are sometimes active near the Albright Visitor Center and hotel at Mammoth Hot Springs. Perhaps they are aroused from hibernation due to ground temperatures rising as hydrothermal activity increases in the vicinity. No one knows for sure.
Information provided by Yellowstone National Park (NPS).
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by John William Uhler
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