My name is Shelbee and I chose to do my species research on the Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel. I chose the Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel because I like squirrels, and I thought learning more about them would be fasinating. Also, I wanted to expand my knowledge on them. Did you know that a baby Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel is called a pup or a kitten? While doing my research I came across many interesting findings that I would like to share with you.
The Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel has a golden-red mantle that begins at the head and extends down over their shoulders. Horizontally down their body is one white stripe on each side of their body, bordered by two black stripes. They have a white ring of fur surrounding their eyes. Their back is gray and brownish in color. Their underside white and/or yellowish-gray. The tail is brownish-black above, and underneath a brown, reddish color. The squirrels weigh ranges from 120-395 grams. In lenth they range from 235-295 mm.
The Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel is very similar to the chipmunk. These two are alike in appearences and behavior. This squirrel uses the technique of rolling in the dirt to clean intself. Also, they comb their fur with their claws and teeth. The Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel has cheeck pouches which is used for carrying food when they need to run on all fours. The squirrel’s typical year would go like this: eat throughout the summer to build up fat, sleep the whole winter, then wake up, mate, and repeat.
The Golden-Mantle is most typically found in coniferous forests, in mountainous areas. They like to live near logs and boulders because this is where they put the opening to their burrow. This burrow, which they build on their own, can extend for 100 feet. The squirrel likes to stay in a range of one to two acres. In this home range they get preyed on owls, hawks, coyotes, bobcats, and foxes.
The Golden-Manlted Ground Squirrel’s genus name, Spermophilus, is Greek for “seed loving”. Using their cheek patches, they store seeds and fruits to take back and store in their burrow. Along with seeds and nuts the Golden-Mantled also eats nuts, which makes up a large part of their diet. Also a part of their diet is underground fungi, some insects, and green plants. The squirrel builds up its layer of fat, hibernates, and when they wake up they eat their food they stored away in their burrow while seeds and nuts are scarce.
Many might beleive that the Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel does not make any sounds. This is untrue. The squirrel can vocalize, but they remain silent most of the time. When they get alarmed they let out a sound similar to squeals and chirps. When they are being aggresive fighting with other ground squirrels, which is not often, they let out a low growl.
The male Golden-Mantle will emerge from hibernation a few days before the female. This is typically from late March to May. Shortly after the females come out, breeding occurs. After 28 days of their gestation period, the female produces a litter of about five babies. When born the new Golden-Mantle Squirrels are naked and blind. After about a week the babies fur will come in. When summer comes around the young head out on their own.
As you know the Golden-Mantle’s mating season begins in spring when they come out of hibernation. The female will build a nest and have her litter of babies. In the summer to come the babies, which are now no longer so young, head out on their own. They are now responsible of taking care of themselves because they are considered adults. The average life span of a Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel is around seven years in the wild, and five in captivity.
The Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel helps to maintain the popultaion of many of the small mammals which they feed upon. This includes birds and lizards. The Golden-Mantle may be helping their predators by providing a food source. Also, by digging their underground burrows the squirrels are helping the aerate the earth.
Not much is know about the Golden-Mantle’s population trends. Many believe however that their population may be getting impacted in a negative way. This is from many causes including logging, road construction, and competition with other animals. This squirrel is not considered to be endangered in any way. Their population is staying about the same throughout the years.