A Field Guide to the Prairie

13-lined ground squirrel 13-lined Ground Squirrel
Spermophilus tridecemlineatus
Length: 24 cm (9.5 in.)
Habitat/Range: A prairie mammal. Before European settlement, it probably ranged from the grasslands of Texas, Illinois and western Minnesota to the eastern edge of the Rockies from Alberta to Arizona. It has since expanded its range eastward through Pennsylvania.
Eating Habits: Spermophilus means "seed lover," and the major plant food of this squirrel is seeds. However, the 13-lineed ground squirrel also eats many insects, including grasshoppers, cutworms, and cabbage butterfly larvae, and will kill and eat mice and voles, ground-nesting birds, and lizards.
Thirteen stripes run from the nape of the neck to the base of the tail of this squirrel (often called the "striped gopher"). Seven narrow pale yellow stripes alternate with six broad dark stripes. The ears are short, and the tail is a third of the total length of the body.
On the Prairie Field Guide Index

College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences
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