ground squirrel

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Idioms, Wikipedia.

ground squirrel,

name applied to certain terrestrial rodents of the squirrelsquirrel,
name for small or medium-sized rodents of the family Sciuridae, found throughout the world except in Australia, Madagascar, and the polar regions; it is applied especially to the tree-living species.
..... Click the link for more information.
 family. In North America the name refers to members of the genus Citellus and sometimes to the closely related genera Tamias (chipmunkchipmunk,
rodent of the family Sciuridae (squirrel family). The chipmunk of the E United States and SE Canada is of the genus Tamias. The body of the common Eastern chipmunk, Tamias striatus, is about 5 to 6 in.
..... Click the link for more information.
), Cynomys (prairie dogprairie dog,
short-tailed, ground-living rodent, genus Cynomys, of the squirrel family, closely related to the ground squirrels, chipmunks, and marmots. There are several species, found in the W United States and N Mexico.
..... Click the link for more information.
), and Marmota (marmotmarmot,
ground-living rodent of the genus Marmota, of the squirrel family, closely related to the ground squirrel, prairie dog, and chipmunk. Marmots are found in Eurasia and North America; the best-known North American marmot is the woodchuck, M.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and woodchuckwoodchuck
or groundhog,
common name of a North American species of marmot, Marmota monax. This large rodent is found in open woods and ravines throughout most of Canada and the NE United States. Its heavyset body is about 2 ft (60 cm) long, excluding the 6 in.
..... Click the link for more information.
). Citellus species are found in Asia, E Europe, and North America. In the Old World they are called sousliks. Other ground squirrel genera are found in Africa and S Asia. The approximately 30 North American species of Citellus are found W of Hudson Bay, from the Arctic Ocean to central Mexico. These ground squirrels have rounded heads, short ears and legs, and shorter, less bushy tails than tree squirrels. Their combined head and body length is 4 1-2 to 13 1-2 in. (11.4–33 cm) depending on the species; the tail is usually a third to two thirds as long. Most are gregarious, living in extensive underground burrows; they hibernate in colder parts of their range. Members of different species are found in prairie grasslands, arctic tundra, mountain meadows, open forest, desert, and scrub country. In some regions the ground squirrel is called gophergopher
or pocket gopher,
name for the burrowing rodents of the family Geomyidae, found in North America and Central America. The gopher is gray, buff, or dark brown. Its combined head and body length is 5 to 12 in.
..... Click the link for more information.
, a name more commonly applied to burrowing rodents of a different family. Primarily vegetarian in their diet, ground squirrels may become agricultural pests, but they destroy insects and mice as well as crops. Their tunnels cause landslides and erosion, but also serve to mix and aerate the soil. Ground squirrels are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information.
, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Rodentia, family Sciuridae.


See J. O. Murie and G. R. Michener, ed., The Biology of Ground-Dwelling Squirrels (1984).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The European ground squirrel needs to get back in good condition after winter hibernation.
Differences in occurrence of vole-sized prey were mainly due to proportions of chipmunks (Neotamias spp.) that were 10 times greater than in the NE Oregon study, and ground squirrels (Spermophilus spp.) in squirrel-sized samples, which were nearly absent in the NE Oregon study.
From our survey, the currently known geographical distribution of the Valle de la Trinidad round-tailed ground squirrel is restricted to Valle de San Matias.
He also hopes it will prompt others to look to natural models, as he and Hallenbeck did with the ground squirrel.
In examining the carcasses collected at the ground squirrel colonies in Oregon, for instance, the researchers found that the vast majority--some 87 to 93 percent--of the shot squirrels contained lead fragments, averaging about 15 fragments per carcass.
Coccidian parasites (Eucoccidia: Eimeriidae) in European ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus L., 1766) (Rodentia: Sciuridae) from Bulgaria.
Initial evaluation at Glacier Point revealed several abandoned California ground squirrel burrows in close proximity to pathways and picnic areas.
Thirteen-lined ground squirrel and other ground squirrel mothers start to dissociate from offspring around two weeks post emergence (McCarley, 1966; Dunford, 1977b; Schwagmeyer, 1980; Michener, 1981; Freeman, 2009), and stop alarm calling for offspring around three weeks post emergence (Schwagmeyer, 1980).
"We never observed a ground squirrel kill or injure an adult or juvenile prairie dog," says study coauthor John Hoogland.
Thus present study correlates well with the morphological and histological observations of ovaries in Indian palm squirrel, wild ground squirrel (Citellus dauricus Brandt) and European ground squirrels (Spermophilus citellus) (Seth & Prasad; Millesi et al, 2008; Bao et al, 2014).
The Arctic ground squirrel is the largest ground squirrel in North America and has the most northerly distribution (Fig.
Ilua the ground squirrel loves to relax on the cool tundra and nibble on freshly picked berries.