Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Dean Draper
Photo Copyright Dean Draper

The Piute ground squirrel, Spermophilus mollis, is commonly found in the Great Basin and Columbia Plateau of Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. The species is quite common throughout its range in Utah, where it is usually found in desert or grassland habitats.

The Piute ground squirrel eats grasses, seeds, crops, other vegetation, and sometimes meat. The species mates in late winter or early spring, and females produce a litter of five to ten young about 24 days after mating. The Piute ground squirrel is active during the day, but the species is not active year-round. In fact, Piute ground squirrels are often active only during the spring and the fall, becoming inactive during the hot dry summer and the cold winter. Because of its affinity for crops, the Piute ground squirrel can cause a great deal of agricultural damage in some areas.


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