Golden-mantled ground squirrel

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Golden-mantled ground squirrel
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Callospermophilus
Species: C. lateralis
Binomial name
Callospermophilus lateralis
(Say, 1823)
Spermophilus lateralis distribution.png

Spermophilus lateralis

The golden-mantled ground squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis) is a ground squirrel found in mountainous areas of western North America. It 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.


Side view, Bryce Canyon, Utah

A typical adult ranges from 23 to 30 cm (9.1 to 11.8 in) in length. The golden-mantled ground squirrel can be identified by its chipmunk-like stripes and coloration, but unlike a chipmunk, 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 a chipmunk in more than just its appearance. Although it is a traditional hibernator, building up its body fat 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 30 m (98 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 four to six young each summer.

It eats seeds, nuts, berries, insects, and underground fungi. It is preyed upon by hawks, jays, weasels, foxes, bobcats, and coyotes.



  1. ^ Linzey, A. V. & Hammerson, G. (2008). "Spermophilus lateralis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 8 January 2009. 

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