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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Rodentia · Sciuridae · Xerospermophilus tereticaudus (Spermophilus tereticaudus)

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Xerospermophilus tereticaudus (Spermophilus tereticaudus)

Round-tailed Ground Squirrel

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae

Image of Xerospermophilus tereticaudus (Spermophilus tereticaudus)
Xerospermophilus tereticaudus - gray-brown (top) and cinnamon (bottom) variants
Click to enlarge. (52 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Round-tailed Ground Squirrels occur primarily in sandy, relatively flat desert, from Death Valley, which is about 70 m below sea level, to elevations of 1,200 m. They dig their burrows in loose soil, often under a shrub. Mesquite and creosotebush are typically the dominant plants in their habitat. They can stay active on very hot days, and in some areas they are active year-round. In other places, they spend most of their time underground from September until January, but they do not hibernate. Predators include birds of prey, coyotes, badgers, and snakes.

Also known as:

Roundtail Ground Squirrel

Sexual Dimorphism:



Range: 202-278 mm


Range: 110-170 g


Baird, S.F., 1857 [1858].  Mammals. In Reports of explorations and surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, p. 315.  Vol. 8, Pt. 1. Mammals. Beverly Tucker Printer, Washington, D.C., 8(1):1-757 + 43 plates.


Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account * (opens in a new window).
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Distribution of Xerospermophilus tereticaudus (Spermophilus tereticaudus)

Image of Xerospermophilus tereticaudus (Spermophilus tereticaudus)
Click to enlarge. (57kb)

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