Home Smithsonian: National Museum of Natural History Home
Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Collection: Species Details Lewis and Clark as Naturalists
Mammal    Species Name:
Spermophilus tridecemlineatus

Common Name:
Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel

Family:
Sciuridae

Localities:
Great Falls, Montana   July 8, 1805

Gopher

Not all animals were shot before being collected.  The men brought Lewis a live ground squirrel bearing thirteen neat stripes down the back.  This is one species that has expanded its range from the time of the Corps of Discovery 200 years ago.  This phenomenon is likely due to development and agricultural practices that create grassy areas.  Often this ground squirrel can be seen standing erect surveying the landscape alongside country roads, from the Great Lakes to the Rocky Mountains.  Incidentally, the origin of the word gopher is obscure, and its connection to "gofer," as in an errand runner is considered folk etymology.

For more information about this North American mammal, click here.



Journal Entries:

Capt. Lewis, July 8, 1805--the men also brought me a living ground squirrel which is something larger than those of the U’States or those ...  more>>

References Mitchill, Samuel Latham, The Medical Repository (NY), (n.s.), 6(21):248. , , 1821

see following caption



See following caption
thirteen-lined ground squirrel


 
 
Smithsonian Institution
Copyright Notice
Privacy Notice