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Spotted Ground Squirrel

Spotted Ground Squirrel
Photo Information
Copyright: Billy C Banks (K9madtex) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 122 W: 67 N: 278] (1022)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-07-07
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel, Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM, Canon 72mm UV Haze
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): By Cade [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-07-07 18:23
Viewed: 12380
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I've been seeing these guys on base for a while now but never when I had a good opportunity to get a picture. Finally I had the time and they were cooperating. These three guys were popping in and out of their den along the curb in the chapels parking lot. Their den is along the curb immediately below the middle squirrel.

Spotted Ground Squirrel

Order Rodentia : Family Sciuridae : Spermophilus spilosoma Bennett

Description. A small ground squirrel with scattered, more or less squarish, light spots on the back (spots not in rows as in S. mexicana and S. tridecemlineatus); ears inconspicuous; tail about one-third of total length, pinkish buff or cinnamon buff beneath; upperparts smoke gray, light drab or fawn color, the white spots small and obsolete, especially on shoulder; underparts white. External measurements average: total length, 214 mm; tail, 65 mm; hind foot, 32 mm. Weight, 100-125 g.

Species distribution in Texas. Known from western one-half of state (not on Edwards Plateau) and southward on Rio Grande Plain.

Habits. Spotted ground squirrels seem to prefer dry, sandy areas, but they are also found in grassy parks, open pine forests, scattered brush, and occasionally on rocky mesas. On Mustang Island, off the coast of Texas, they live in the sand dunes and share their runways through the sparse vegetation with kangaroo rats, grasshopper mice, and other small rodents. Near Van Horn, they are rather common in the sandhills covered with yuccas and other desert shrubs, and in the southern part of the Big Bend they occur in small numbers on rather hard ground covered with creosote bushes. The opening to their burrows is usually under bushes or overhanging rocks. One excavated burrow had three openings, was about 4 m long, descended no more than 50 cm, and terminated in a nest chamber. A burrow in the Big Bend had an opening about 5 cm in diameter and was marked by a slight mound.

These squirrels are extremely shy. One can work in an area several days without seeing them. They are most active in early morning and late afternoon to avoid the midday heat. They seldom go far from their burrows and retreat to them at the slightest sign of danger. Their movements are rapid and interrupted by abrupt stops, reminding one of a lizard. In running, the body and tail are held close to the ground.

Hibernation probably is not complete in these squirrels, especially in the southern part of their range. Specimens have been taken in November, December, January, and February in Texas.

Their food is largely green vegetation and seeds. Specific items are cactus pulp, mesquite beans, saltbush seeds, sandbur, sunflower, gourd, iris, grasshoppers, and beetles.

Their breeding habits are not well-known. Females captured in mid-June, at which time half-grown young were common, contained five to seven embryos. This indicates that two litters may be reared yearly. Young, presumably about a month old, have been observed above ground as early as April 28 and as late as September 17, which would suggest that mating begins in February and continues into mid-July. The gestation period is not known, but is probably about 30 days. Six young spotted ground squirrels reared in captivity were found to weigh an average of 17 g at 34 days of age, their eyes opened at 27-28 days, and they were weaned at about 48 days.

Alan_Kolnik, Adam73, angybone, jaycee, rcrick, JoseMiguel, earthtraveler has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

I love the composition, the sharpness, and the humor of the piece. They remind me of identical triplets. You have nice dof, but your frame is so elaborate that I noticed that before I noticed the little guys. Still, a wonderful capture.

That is such an adorable picture with all three posing together! Great capture with good focus, composition, and colors.

Love your pic! perfect formation!

Very interesting to see these squirrels - so different from the ones we see up north. Also like the choice of your "southern" font in the frame!

  • Great 
  • Adam73 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 208 W: 5 N: 522] (2253)
  • [2007-07-07 22:06]

Very cute photo. Perfect DOF and nice exposure. I also like the frame. Great shot.


very cute image,you have capture nice moment.

Now that's cute! ha ha Great shot!!
Perfect composition too.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-07-08 8:14]

Hi Billy,

This is wonderful! The three ground squirrels are adorable - can't believe they were lined up like that. Excellent colors and details and a wonderful natural setting.


Hey Billy, Congrats mate Just perfect ! Cheers Rick

Hi Billy,
This is an excellent portrait of this 3 guys!
It's very good your POV and the lighting there, as well as the pose caught.
I like very much their big eyes and the perfect formation.
You made a great composition!
Congratulations and thanks for share it.
My best regards,

Helllo Billy lovely poses caught here nice light really cute tfs rgds Necip

Cute line up you got for this image. How many nuts did you have to pay them for this pose? Haha

Hi Billy

Really fine photo, opportunities like this only occur now and then and you have taken full advantage of it.

Well Done


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