CALIFORNIA GROUND SQUIRREL
California Ground Squirrel, Spermophilus beecheyi
California Ground Squirrels are abundant throughout the San Diegito River
Park anywhere where there is soil suitable for burrowing in. Colonies create extensive underground burrows, which can be destructive if located near human-made
structures! Generally, a single squirrel, often an older female, will act as
sentry for the colony and position herself in a prominent position outside the
burrow system watching for predators or other threats. When she detects a
threat, she will make a series of high-pitched squeaks to alert other
colony-mates who may be nearby and vulnerable. The sentry is usually an older female as
she has likely already had one of more litters of offspring and so is
biologically "expendable." If she is taken by a predator, her genes, as carried by her
offspring, will "live on."
Text and Photo by Robyn Waayers. Robyn has been a resident of San Diego County since 1977, and is a biology instructor at
Palomar, Miramar and Southwestern Colleges, and is also a freelance nature
photographer. Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org
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