Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ground Squirrely, too

Photo by Mark Hengesbaugh 5/10/2015

Mark writes:

We spotted these young Round-tailed Ground Squirrels on May 10, likely heading out on one of their very first excursions into the sunny world above ground. Ground squirrels are social, burrowing rodents who breed in late winter. Gestation is about 30 days, and litters of 6-7 are born in March or April. They are weaned in 5 weeks and mature at 10-11 months. Adult males disperse while the females remain where they were born. Listen for their high-pitched warning whistle when walking in the Sabino's dry, sandy stretches.

Photo by Ned Harris 5/8/2015

As Firefly Forest Beth writes in the link above:

Round-tailed Ground Squirrels are omnivorous and feed on seeds, plants, insects, and any other edible thing that they may happen across.
This one is trying out one of those goldfish crackers that was probably dropped by a human toddler. Even though these mammals will eat just about anything, I urge you NOT to feed them (or any other animals in the wild).

And I remind you NOT to drop banana, orange, tangerine, or any other peels on the ground in Sabino Canyon (or elsewhere). Everything is bio-degradable, given enough time; but peels (and tissues, napkins, diapers) DO NOT break down in a timely fashion in the desert. These items are not only an eyesore, they are potentially a hazard to the health and well-being of all life in the canyon.

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