A Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel
Bryce Canyon National Park
from Sept. 1999


In September 1999, I was trying out a 300mm lens in Bryce Canyon, Utah, and one morning an extremely cooperative golden mantled ground squirrel (Spermophilus lateralis) behaved as the best of models, showing me his various profiles from a distance of about 100 feet away.
Golden mantle ground squirrel

I appreciated that he held each view for a sufficent amount of time to allow me to focus.
Squirrel back
After a while, he tried a new vantage point while picking up a snack along the way.
Squirrel nibble
Apparently, 1999 was a very good year for golden mantled ground squirrels. In 2000, the population dropped drastically, due to a disease of some sort. I don't know about 2001, but by October 2002, they were all hibernating, but a ranger said that the population was back to normal.

Note that the difference between these ground squirrels and chipmunks is that the former lack facial stripes. Also, the golden mantled ground squirrel hibernates, whereas western chipmunks stay active all year.

Photography note: The photos were taken with a Pentax PZ-M and a 300mm A* lens.  

Bryce by moonlight   |   Lightning by Bryce   |   Fairyland Castle

Brycian trees   |   chipmunk

Zion National Park   |   Petrified Forest National Park

Dinosaur National Monument   |   Contact
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