There were quite a few of these Uinta ground squirrels in the Gros Ventre Campground in Grand Teton National Park.
When we lived in Idaho years ago, we would see these little critters along many of the roads, often running across, though we didn’t see many that had been hit by passing cars. That was long before the internet and Google, so all we knew about them was that they were “some kind of ground squirrel.”
The Uinta ground squirrels are not prairie dogs, though related. Though we did see some prairie dogs on the trip, I don’t think I got any decent photos of them.
The Uinta ground squirrel (Urocitellus armatus) is a native of the northern Rocky Mountains and surrounding foothills of the United States including Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming. Their habitat includes dry meadows, grasslands, and cultivated fields close to water.
The squirrels eat foods including seeds, green vegetation, insects, and meat. They are fully active for roughly 3 1/2 months in the spring and summer before beginning estivation and hibernation in burrows underground. During their active periods the squirrels are diurnal and often live in colonies.
The squirrels mate in the early spring and females give birth after about a month of gestation. Young leave the burrow at twenty-four days. Litters usually include four to six young with older females generally producing larger litters. Adults weigh between 285g–425g.