NatureMapping Animal Facts for Kids

California Ground Squirrel

California Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi)

distribution map

What they look like:

The adults have a mix of gray, light brown and dusky fur. A band of slightly darker fur, flecked with light gray, extends from the head over the middle of the back. The undersides are light buff or grayish yellow.

photo by Tim Knight

Where they live:

California Ground Squirrels are found from central Washington through western Oregon, California and into the northern part of Baja California. The squirrel is found in plains, small meadows, tree-covered hillsides, and rocky outcrops.

Click the range map to learn more about the distribution of California Ground Squirrels in Washington.

What they eat: distribution map

Their diet is is primarily seed-based, including barley, oats, and acorns. They eat eggs, insects, roots, tubers, seeds, grains, nuts and fruit.


California ground squirrels use their cheek pouches to collect extra food. Like gray squirrels, they cache or store food for future use.

California ground squirrels use a variety of sounds. The make a high-pitched alarm call when they feel threatened. The calling can last several minutes.

California ground squirrels live on the ground and in burrows.

Did you know?

  • California Ground Squirrels can live up to 6 years in the wild.
  • They give a high pitched alarm call to warn others of predators.
  • They create habitat for other animals, such as rodents and snakes, which occupy empty burrows.
  • California Ground Squirrels are preyed upon by red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, coyote, fox, badgers, weasels, house cats, dogs, and snakes.
California Ground Squirrel photo by Tim Knight

California Ground Squirrel photo by Tim Knight

Animal silhouettes available to purchase »

More information: California Ground Squirrel - Animal Diversity Web

Lima, M. 2003. "Spermophilus beecheyi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed July 18, 2008 at

More photos: California Ground Squirrel Photos on the Wildlife Web

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