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Urocitellus elegans (Spermophilus elegans)

Wyoming Ground Squirrel

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae

Image of Urocitellus elegans (Spermophilus elegans)
Urocitellus elegans - left (with U. armatus)
Click to enlarge. (79 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Wyoming Ground Squirrels are found in three separate regions of the western United States at elevations above 1,500 meters. Their geographic centers are in southwestern Montana, central and southwestern Wyoming, and southwestern Idaho, but populations occur in the states bordering these regions. Although they live in colonies, they are not highly social - burrows are not shared, for example. An adult female and her female young form a loose social group, but tend not to mix with other females and their litters, nor do they groom each other or display other sociable behaviors. Males disperse from their natal area, living even less social lives. Females vigorously defend the openings to their burrows. Males aggressively defend larger territories during the breeding season. Wyoming Ground Squirrels spend nearly 40 percent of their time feeding and more than a third of their time watching out for predators and intruders.

Sexual Dimorphism:

Range: 253-307 mm

Range: 286-411 g


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


Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Urocitellus elegans (Spermophilus elegans)

Image of Urocitellus elegans (Spermophilus elegans)
View of squirrel at burrow entrance
Click to enlarge. (183kb)