Origin of the Name
The California Ground Squirrel was named after Frederick William Beechey, who explored much of Northern California in 1826-28 as captain of His Majesty's Ship Blossom, this squirrel is also sometimes called the Beechey Ground Squirrel.Description:
The adults have a mix of gray, light brown and dusky fur to give the California Ground Squirrel's upperparts a mottled appearance. A band of slightly darker fur, flecked with light gray, extends from the head over the middle of the back. Gray fur forms a cape over the sides of the head and shoulders. This gray cape may have a protective function, breaking up the animal's body outline and making it more difficult for a predator to spot (see photo). The undersides are light buff or grayish yellow.
Click the range map to learn more about the distribution of California Ground Squirrels in Washington or California.
California ground squirrels utilize cheek pouches while they are foraging to collect more food than would otherwise be possible in one sitting. Like gray squirrels, they cache or store food for future use.
California ground squirrels use a variety of sounds, tail signals and scent production as means of communication. The belt out a high-pitched alarm call when they feel threatened. The calling can last for several minutes.
California ground squirrels reside on the ground and in burrow systems. The burrows can house many generations forming a small colony, and each individual has an entrance of their own.
Males are often territorial. The ground squirrels tend to stay within 150 yards of their burrow system and usually retreat to their entrance for safety.
Did you know?
California Ground Squirrel
Animal silhouettes available to purchase »
Photos: Natures Pics
More information: California Ground Squirrel - Animal Diversity Web
Home | About Us | How to Participate | Biodiversity Modules | Projects | Maps | News | Resources