Mammals of New Mexico Week: Spotted Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus spilosoma)
Please consider participating in the second 24 Mammals in 24 Hours Marathon! You get to support a great cause that helps animals and get your own custom original drawing. Look in the right-side navigation bar of this page for more information.
According to the American Society of Mammalogists, New Mexico has five species of ground squirrels in the Spermophilus genus. In my parents’ neighborhood, you can frequently see them rushing across the road, but I’m not sure which species those are. The spotted ground squirrel, like this one, likes to burrow into sandy soil. Animal Diversity Web describes the varying landscapes the spotted ground squirrel calls home in all the western states it lives in, and I like the picture the list of habitats evokes: drifted sand along rivers, creosote and blackbrush, short-grass mesas, the banks of arroyos, gravelly sand along highways, low shrubs, sand hills, sand dunes, yucca grass, sage-grass.
When they want to send an alert signal to each other, spotted ground squirrels stomp their hind feet.