Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
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Urocitellus mollis (Spermophilus mollis)

Piute Ground Squirrel

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae

Image of Urocitellus mollis (Spermophilus mollis)
Urocitellus mollis - distinguishable from U. townsendii and U. canus only by chromosome number and location
Click to enlarge. (91 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Piute Ground Squirrels are adapted to desert life. Their kidneys efficiently conserve water, and they are able to withstand high temperatures. They feed on a variety of leaves, stems, roots, bulbs, flowers, and seeds, and will also eat insects and carrion. When it is hottest, around midday, they forage in the shade or use their burrows to rest and cool off. They close the entrance to the burrow each evening with a plug of soil. Like many of its close relatives, Piute Ground Squirrels produce only one litter a year, after a gestation of about a month. Litters comprise 4-9 young and are born in a nest burrow the female digs for the purpose. Females may reproduce as yearlings, but males become reproductively mature only at two years of age

Also known as:
Townsend's Ground Squirrel, Sagebrush Ground Squirrel, Least Idaho Ground Squirrel

Average: 213 mm
Range: 201-233 mm

Range: 82-205 g


Kennicott, R., 1863.  Descriptions of four new species of Spermophilus, in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, p. 157.  Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 15:157-158.


Mammal Species of the World

Distribution of Urocitellus mollis (Spermophilus mollis)