13-lined Ground Squirrel

photo by Andrew McKinlay CC BY-NC

13-lined Ground Squirrel are small (8-12 in head to tail) brown rodents with 13 brown and white stripes down their back and a black-striped tail. They are found in the open grasslands of south-central Canada and the central United States. They avoid wooded areas but have adapted well to urban areas (parks, cemeteries, roadsides).

13-lined Ground Squirrel build networks of underground tunnels with multiple chambers where they hibernate over the winter. They eat seeds, nuts, roots, and insects. They have one litter of 6-7 young a year, usually at the end of May.

13-lined Ground Squirrel are most active in daytime and can be spotted standing up on their haunches to view their surroundings. They use alarm calls to notify each other of danger.

Could it be? 13-lined Ground Squirrel resemble Chipmunk, but Chipmunk have stripes on their head and body, longer faces, and internal cheek pouches they can stuff with seeds. Richardson's Ground Squirrel (gophers) are larger and don't have stripes.

Did you know? In addition to the long, deep burrows they use for nesting and hibernation, 13-lined Ground Squirrel also dig short, dead-end tunnels where they can escape in an emergency.

See Also: Bushy-tailed Woodrat, Hoary Marmot, Least Chipmunk, Marten, Pika, Red-tailed Chipmunk, Richardson's Ground Squirrel, Squirrel, Weasel, Yellow-bellied Marmot, Yellow-pine Chipmunk