Two orphaned thirteen-lined ground squirrels, also known as gophers, were admitted July 3. Originally confined to the prairie, their range has extended northward and eastward over the past two centuries as land has been cleared. Mowed lawns, golf courses, cemeteries, well-grazed pastures, parks and roadsides are common habitats for them now.
They are small, slender ground squirrels with alternate longitudinal stripes of dark brown and tan, extending from the nape of the neck to the base of the tail. The “13 lines” consist of broad, dark-brown stripes alternating with thin tan stripes, alternating with six broader dark-brown stripes. Their ears are short, the tail is thin and they often sit erect with head pointed up. Thirteen-lined ground squirrels are most active at midday and on warm, sunny days. They dig shallow underground burrows used for nesting and hibernation.
Thirteen-lined ground squirrels have excellent senses of vision, touch and smell. They eat mostly plants and seeds, but will also eat insects.
Wild Instincts can be reached for wildlife emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 715-362-WILD (9453).