Field Guide/Mammals/Franklin's Ground Squirrel

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Spermophilus franklinii[1] (Franklin's Ground Squirrel)
Family: Squirrel (Sciuridae) [1]
Size: Length: Ranges from 14-16 inches (355-410 mm). Average is 14.6 inches (371 mm). Average Weight: Males is 12.3-33.5 oz. (350-950 g). Females is 12-26.8 oz. (340-760 g).[2]
Description: Dark brownish grey fur speckled with pale and dark flecks. Fur on sides of body is pale. Tail is blackish mixed with pale flecks. Head is typically grayer than the rest of their body.[3]
Similar Species: Franklin’s Ground Squirrel is similar to the Gray Tree Squirrel except that Franklin’s Ground Squirrel is smaller and has shorter ears and tail.[4]

Range: Occurs in the United States and Canada. From Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois northward to Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.[3]
Habitat: Tall, dense cover grasses, shrubs, and small trees. Tallgrass and mid-grass prairie. Occupy prairie, woodland edges, forest openings, thickets, and bog borders. Avoid short grass.[5] Agriculture suitable habitats include fence rows to old fields,[4] cemetery prairies, and ditch banks.[5]
Diet: Most carnivorous of ground squirrels. Green plants, seeds, fruit, insects, amphibians, bird eggs, young birds and mammals, and carrion.[5]
Activity: It is Diurnal.[5] Begins hibernation by late September.[3] Emerge from hibernation during April.[5]

Reproduction: Breeding starts immediately after hibernation and lasts until early June. Gestation lasts 28 days.[1] Litter size is 5-11, average is 7. One litter per year. Weaned in 40 days.[3] Born naked and blind. Fully furred after 16 days. Eyes open after 18-20 days.[1]
Lifespan: Females 4-5 years. Males 1-2 years.[1]
Cute little Franklin's Ground Squirrel eating.

  1. a b c d e Ostroff, A. C.; Finck, E. J. (2003), "Spermophilus franklinii", The American Society of Mammalogists,, retrieved September 24, 2012 
  2. "North American Mammals:Spermophilusfranklinii", Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History NMNH,, retrieved September 24, 2012 
  3. a b c d Spermophilus franklinii, 2008,, retrieved September 24, 2012 
  4. a b Franklin's Ground Squirrel,, retrieved September 24, 2012 
  5. a b c d e Hofmann, J. E. (1999), INHS Reports: Franklin's Ground Squirrel: An Increasingly Rare Prairie Mammal, Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois,, retrieved September 24, 2012