Mexican Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus mexicanus)
- The Mexican Ground Squirrel is a small-bodied animal with brown fur and nine rows of squarish white spots on its back. It has a whitish belly, small, round ears and a moderately bushy tail.
- Life History
- This ground squirrel is not an especially social animal. They occasionally however, are found in a colonial burrow system. Three different types of burrows are used for nesting, hiding and hibernation. The entrances to these burrows are usually very difficult to find as they are unmarked by mounds of excavated dirt. They usually have more than one entrance by which to enter or escape. They also may use several other burrows as temporary refuges. Mexican Ground Squirrels do hibernate in the northern parts of their range, although there may be some activity throughout the winter.
Breeding occurs only once a year in late March or early April. The brood chamber is located in the deepest section of a side tunnel. After a gestation period of no more than 30 days, a litter five blind and helpless young is born. In the spring, the major part of the Mexican Ground Squirrels' diet is composed of green vegetation and by summer the diet shifts to insects. These squirrels also are quite fond of meat. They are often seen feeding upon small animals killed on the highways. In captivity they exhibit a cannibalistic tendency and kill and eat their cage mates, especially if a strange squirrel is placed with them. Occasionally they climb into low bushes to forage, but most of their food is gathered on the ground.
- Mexican Ground Squirrels are found in brushy or grassy areas. They usually prefer gravelly or sandy soils, although they are not limited to these soil types.
- They are found throughout southeastern New Mexico, southern and western Texas, and Mexico.