|Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel
Because ground squirrels spend most of their lives below ground, they build extensive burrows. Thirteen-lined ground squirrels make three types of burrows.
Hiding burrows are short and there are lots of them.
Nesting burrows are larger.
Hibernating burrows, below the frost line (20-40 inches deep) contain a large nest and a plugged entrance.
Description of the Thirteen lined Ground Squirrel:
The thirteen-lined squirrel is from 4 1/2 to 6 1/2 inches long, with a tail that is 2 1/2 to 5 inches long. The body is light to dark brown, with 13 stripes down its back. The stripes alternate between solid white and ark with white dots.
The thirteen-lined ground squirrel resembles the chipmunk in size, but the chipmunk has a broad white stripe bordered with black on each side of the body and face.
Habitat and behavior:
Thirteen-lined ground squirrels live in short grasslands and weedy areas. This squirrel needs to see over the top of the grass when it stands on its hind legs. Golf courses, cemeteries, parks, roadsides , and airport land are ideal because they are occasionally mowed.
The squirrels dig burrows without a mound of soil at the entrance. They spread the soil around and pat it down with their feet and the top of their head. Breeding takes place once a year about mid-April and the babies are born about 28 days later. The babies come out of the burrows about a month after birth.
Thirteen-lined ground squirrels eat grasses, weeds, seeds, and crops. They also eat earthworms and insects such as grasshoppers, beetles, and ants.
Distribution and status:
Thirteen-lined ground squirrels are plentiful in Illinois. Their only predators are hawks, weasels, badgers, dogs, and cats. Road traffic and flooding are also hazards.