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Rock Squirrel

Rock Squirrels are rodents which resemble typical tree squirrels, except they live on the ground. It has speckled greyish-brown fur and a bushy tail. It is the largest of the ground squirrels and can weigh up to 1 1/2 pounds.

Natural History

Rock Squirrels are found in all but the driest regions of the Sonoran Desert. They are often found in rocky areas or boulder piles, but are adaptable to many habitats. They forage for food on the ground, but can also climb trees very well. Their typical diet consists of seeds, mesquite beans and buds, insects, eggs, birds, carrion, and a variety of fruits.

Because there are few trees in the lower parts of the Sonoran Desert, Rock Squirrels have become adapted to living on the ground.

The Rock Squirrel is well designed for digging, with sharp claws and strong legs. They use these attributes to dig burrows to live in and retreat to for safety. They spend parts of the colder winter months dormant in their burrows, but occasionally come out on warm days. They mate in the early spring and babies are born in March, with possibly a second litter born in August or September. They are prey for a number of desert animals including: hawks, roadrunners, coyotes, and snakes.

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