Richardsons Ground Squirrels

Richardsons Ground Squirrel

Urocitellus richardsonii

 

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Overview

An adult Richardsons ground squirrel measures around 30cm long and could typically weigh around 200-400g when emerging from hibernation, with pre-hibernation weights up to 750g - with males being slightly heavier than females. Their lifespan in captivity is around 6 years.

In the wild, Richardson's ground squirrels are found in North America, inhabiting mainly prairie but they have adapted quite well to suburbia, which sadly leads them to be considered a pest in some areas.

They naturally live communally, although this is said to be female-dominated with females only accepting other females to whom they are related.

Richardsons ground squirrels are becoming quite popular as pets. They have a high pricetag, but can bond quite well with their owners if socialised correctly. They can also be allowed some free-ranging time in the house, if supervised. They can be very destructive since they have strong burrowing tendencies and are excellent chewers. They need a large, safe cage that allows opportunities for burrowing and chewing - see Ground Squirrels environment for more details.

Richardsons ground squirrels make a wide range of noises including a chattering that indicates excitment or annoyance, growling when annoyed, and a high-pitched chirp when frightened or alarmed.

Some advice suggests that obseity can be a problem with Richardsons Ground Squirrels so it is important to maintain a good Ground Squirrel diet and monitor their weight.

Richardsons ground squirrel do not breed readily in captivity. making it important that you obtain from an ethical breeder and not support the trade in wild-caught animals. See Richardsons Ground Squirrels breeding for more information on gestation and litter development.

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