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California Ground Squirrel

Otospermophilus beecheyi

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These small mammals can be found throughout the forests of the Pacific Northwest. They look very similar to other squirrel species with a slender body and bushy tail. Including the tail, they can grow up to 15 inches in length (38 cm). They have mottled gray fur with a pale belly and white circles around the eyes. They are initially hesitant around people but tend to live in and among human habitations. If fed, they will quickly become comfortable with people and often turn into a nuisance animal.

Although they will raid trash cans (and the unattended picnic basket), their normal diet consists of pinecones, acorns, nuts, berries and insects. These squirrels are hunted by snakes, eagles, raccoons, weasels and other predatory mammals.

Range and Habitat

California Ground Squirrels can be found in the forests and woodlands of the Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington), parts of Nevada and California. They live inside burrows they have excavated themselves and often share with other squirrels. They stay close to these burrows, usually straying no more than 150 feet (45 m) from its entrance.

Conservation Status

Common.