Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

Two squirrels on a log
Golden-mantled ground squirrels are mammals in Yellowstone National Park.

NPS

 
Black tracks of a golden-mantled ground squirrel
Golden-mantled ground squirrel tracks

Scientific Name

Spermophilus lateralis

Identification

  • 9–12 inches long, 7.4–11 ounces.
  • Adult head and shoulders are reddish-brown, their “mantle.”
  • Often mistaken for a least chipmunk (described below); distinguished by larger size, more robust body, shorter tail, and stripes that do not extend onto the sides of the head.

Habitat

  • Found throughout Yellowstone at all elevations in rocky areas, edges of mountain meadows, forest openings, tundra.
  • 87% of diet consists of fungi and leaves of flowering plants; other foods include buds, seeds, nuts, roots, bird eggs, insects, and carrion.
  • Predators include coyotes, weasels, badgers, hawks, grizzly bears.

Behavior

  • Hibernate October to March or April.
  • Breeding occurs shortly after both males and females emerge from hibernation; one litter of five young per year.
 
A wolf standing on a snowy bank near brown grass howls

Mammals

Home to the largest concentration of mammals in the lower 48 states.

Last updated: July 11, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone:

307-344-7381

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