Idaho ground squirrel

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Idaho ground squirrel
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Synapsida
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Urocitellus
Species: U. brunneus
Binomial name
Urocitellus brunneus
(A. H. Howell, 1928)

The Idaho ground squirrel (Urocitellus brunneus) is a species of the largest genus of ground squirrels. There are two subspecies, both in Idaho. They are also known as Idaho spotted ground squirrel.


The species has sexual dimorphism, with males being normally larger than females. Their weight ranges from 120 to 290 grams and are on average 233mm in length, though their range is 209mm to 258mm.


They hibernate eight to nine months of the year.[2]

Northern Idaho ground squirrel (U. brunneus brunneus)[edit]

The northern Idaho ground squirrel subspecies, hereafter referred to as NIDGS, is found in Valley and Adams counties, in about two dozen isolated demes (population groups) thought to occur only at an elevations between 1,150 and 1,550 meters (3,770 and 5,090 ft). Recently, demes of NIDGS were discovered at elevations up to 2,290 meters (7,510 feet).[citation needed] The most recent numbers from the Fish and Wildlife Service suggest that 500 or fewer of these squirrels are in existence, however the recent discovery of squirrels at higher elevations may mean that there are indeed many more squirrels than we know of. Many areas of suitable squirrel habitat remain to be surveyed by Payette National Forest and Idaho Department of Fish and Game employees. The squirrel is currently protected by an agreement between the US Fish and Wildlife Service and private landowners, who, in exchange for federal funding, have agreed to allow the Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct conservation efforts on their land. Timber thinning and prescribed fire projects on the Payette National Forest have proven to expand some of the existing populations of Northern Idaho ground squirrels.

Southern Idaho ground squirrel (U. brunneus endemicus)[edit]

Southern Idaho ground squirrel

The southern Idaho ground squirrel can be found in an area about 30 by 70 kilometers (19 by 43 miles) extending from Emmett, Idaho, northwest to Weiser, Idaho and the surrounding area of Squaw Butte, Midvale Hill, and Henley Basin in Gem, Payette, and Washington counties.

Its range is bounded on the south by the Payette River, on the west by the Snake River and on the northeast by lava flows. Their habitat is typified by rolling hills, basins, and flats at an altitude of between 670 and 975 meters (2,198 and 3,199 ft).

As of 2004, the Southern subspecies is a candidate endangered species.


  1. ^ Yensen, E.; Hammerson, G.; Jefferson, J. (NatureServe) & Cannings, S. (NatureServe) (2008). "Spermophilus brunneus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 8 January 2009. 
  2. ^ Yensen, E.; Sherman, P.W. (1997). "Spermophilus brunneus". Mammalian Species. American Society of Mammalogists. 560. 

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