Nature Notes

Vol. X September, 1932 No. 9

Ground Squirrels

The Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel, one of the most enthusiastic members of the Park's "reception committee" always attracts a great deal of interest from visitors. Across the road from the National Park Inn at Longmire and about the Community House and hotels at Paradise these squirrels are on the alert to pick up any scraps of food tossed to them. They become quite bold and frequently will climb to the shoulders of their patrons in return for some choice tidbit. This friendliness makes them prime favorites with children and amateur photographers. Though often confused with their smaller cousins, the chipmunks, the larger size and the presence of only two stripes down his back - while the chipmunk has four or six - easily distinguishes the squirrel.

During the last week in July several young ground squirrels were brought to the Museum at Longmire. One family of these animals had been routed rudely from its home in a bank along the road by the steam shovel crew which was widening the highway. The little fellows were quickly adopted by the cook in the government mess hall and seemed to feel quite at home in a paper nest in an empty fruit can - sleeping in comfort and warmth behind the great cook stove. They wakened at regular intervals and sipped milk greedily and noisily from the tip of a dessert spoon.

Following the backbone of a ridge in Van Trump Park one afternoon, my attention, and that of the persons accompanying me on the hike, was arrested by a plaintive chirruping from among the stunted Alpine Firs. Investigation followed, and we found four tiny ground squirrels which had evidently wandered from the nest to try their legs and to enjoy sunshine. They showed little fear and it was not difficult to catch two of the little animals. These I placed in my hat for photographing, and after the picture was made were returned to the ground. I found, on my return, the rest of the party enjoying, at my expense, the fact that several large brown fleas were hoping about in my hat.

by Natt N. Dodge,

Ground Squirrel

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