Animal #40 — Wyoming Ground Squirrel

urocitellus elegans

Monday, April 29, 2002 — 7:25 am

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Colorado

I got up early and drove into the mountains to do some birding. I arrived at Florissant Fossil Beds before it opened, so I parked in the lot for the Hornbek Homestead, an 1878 cabin that’s been restored by the park service.

The Wyoming Ground Squirrels were foraging on the trail to the cabin and in the short, dry grass between the parking lot and the cabin. One was very close, near a hole next to a wooden fence post. They would occasionally stand up on their hind legs and look around. They were aware of me and moved further away, but didn’t panic. I later saw more in other areas of the park, running through the grass in the meadows.

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