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Ground Squirrels of the Rocky Mountains
Ground Squirrel  - Rocky Mountains - Estes Park,  Colorado


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Wyoming Ground Squirrel *Spermophilus elegans* These playful little critters make their homes in the ground as well as within rock piles They can be found in most of the meadows and hill sides within the Rocky Mountains. 

Spring time brings this playful rodents out of their hibernation and almost immediately into their mating period. You will often see two ground squirrels running after each other between their ground holes. They have many predators, owls, hawks, bobcats, coyotes among others. Ground squirrels are always on the alert for danger. When alarmed, they emit a sharp squeak like whistle, warning the other's in their community.

Ground squirrels hibernate during the colder months, alone in a special chamber called a hibernaculum. The hibernaculum chamber is constructed off the main burrow system. The connection to the main chamber is plugged off with soil when the animal enters it's hibernation. The hibernaculum system is a fairly closed system consisting of the hibernaculum chamber, a drain tunnel to remove moisture, and an exit tunnel that extends almost to the surface. In the spring, the animal emerges above ground by burrowing the exit tunnel to the surface.

Hibernaculums are filled with grass for bedding in which the ground squirrel curls into a ball with its nose tucked between the hind legs. The animal then enters a state of torpor. Hibernation lasts from 7 to 9 months.

Ground squirrels feed mostly on a variety of local seeds and fruits, although given the chance, most will eat flowers, buds, leaves and also insects.

  View the Ground Squirrels of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Ground Squirrel  - Rocky Mountains - Estes Park,  Colorado


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