Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Unknown Photographer
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The golden-mantled ground squirrel, Spermophilus lateralis, is native to much of the western United States and parts of southwestern Canada. The species is quite common in Utah, where it occurs in high-elevation habitats, such as open forests and alpine tundra. Although Spermophilus lateralis is a ground squirrel, it has the appearance of a chipmunk, except that it lacks the facial stripes characteristic of chipmunks.

The golden-mantled ground squirrel is an omnivore, eating seeds, fruits, other types of vegetation, fungi, insects, and meat. Like many other rodents, the golden-mantled ground squirrel stores food in its underground burrow for winter. The species mates in the spring, and females give birth to a litter of about four to six young in approximately one month. The species is active during the day, and hibernates from late fall to early spring.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Burt, W. H. and R. P. Grossenheider. 1980. A field guide to the mammals. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 289 pp.