Friday, April 08, 2016

Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel - Spermophilus tridecemlineatus

The cheek pouches of this Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel are filled with the husked sunflower seeds I put out for the birds who prefer feeding on the ground. The seeds regularly attract red and black squirrels, chipmunks, and meadow voles. For several years, a Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel has been a regular visitor. The squirrel turned up on April 2nd this year. The same day I found a hole at the base of the fence between my property and the meadow behind my home. I suspect the three inch diameter hole is the entrance to a burrow and winter nest for the squirrel. These squirrels emerge from winter hibernation in April, so the timing fits.

Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels are solitary apart from during breeding season in early spring. In Canada the squirrels emerge from hibernation in spring and they disappear back to the nest in late summer. A home range is usually about two or three acres.

The sunflower seeds this squirrel scavenges over the spring and summer will help sustain the animal over the winter. 


1. Naughton, Donna. The Natural History of Canadian Mammals. University of Toronto Press. 2012.

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