Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel – Ictidomys tridecemlineatus
These ground squirrels have a variety of common names: Striped gopher, Leopard ground squirrel, and Squinney.
They love living in shortgrass prairies and meadows, especially where the soil isn’t compacted or clay. They make extensive tunnels and burrow for the purpose of nesting, hiding, or escaping predators.
Ground squirrels eat a variety of foliage types, seeds, insects, and eggs. They make tasty tidbits for the hawks, kestrels, coyotes, and foxes hanging around here, so the young ones don’t live much beyond the summer months. In general, they are not long-lived; those that survive to winter only live a few years. Being prey is their main role in the ecosystem. Their burrow creating has a lesser role of mixing soil.