Nature clicks #242 - Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel

13-lined Ground Squirrel  

What was the key for making this photo? Well, leave Cooper, our dog, in the car! If you don’t know what I’m talking about please read the blog post I wrote two days ago. Here is the link if you missed this one.

The Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel was out again today and it allowed me to get really close with my tripod and camera after a very slow and careful approach. Their original habitat was short grass prairies but these days they are mostly found wherever grass is mowed, like in this matter right beside the observation parking lot at the Dubuque airport.

This ground squirrel is especially active on warm days and this is why I was hoping to see it again today. In late summer the squirrel puts on a heavy layer of fat and stores some food in its burrow. They enter their nest in October, or even earlier, roll into a stiff ball, and decrease their respiration from 100-200 breath per minute to one breath about every five minutes. (source: Audubon Guide App., mammals). I think this is really amazing...