Spermophilus lateralis (*)
Spermophilus lateralis Say, 1823
* Spermophilus lateralis Report on ITIS
The golden-mantled ground squirrel. Callospermophilus lateralis, is a type of ground squirrel found in mountainous areas of western North America. It eats seeds, nuts, berries, insects, and underground fungi. It is preyed upon by hawks, jays, weasels, foxes, bobcats, and coyotes. A typical adult ranges from 23–30 cm (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.
Both the golden-mantled ground squirrel and the chipmunk have cheek pouches for carrying food. 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 30m (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.
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.
1. ^ Linzey, A. V. & Hammerson, G. (2008). Spermophilus lateralis. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 8 January 2009.
* Helgen, Kristofer M.; Cole, F. Russel; Helgen, Lauren E.; and Wilson, Don E (2009). "Generic Revision in the Holarctic Ground Squirrel Genus Spermophilus". Journal of Mammalogy 90 (2): 270–305. doi:10.1644/07-MAMM-A-309.1.
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