Fur coats, as ladies (and men) who had them know, take a lot of maintenance. Especially when it’s the only coat you’ve got. This Ground Squirrel performs a daily ritual that involves a dust bath and special attention to each body part, including the tail. It’s not just a matter of general cleanliness. Ground squirrels are plagued by three species of fleas and four species of ticks and various types of mites, some of them potentially carriers of diseases that harm humans (Lyme, plague, tularemia et al.). Grooming the fur has benefit not only for this little four-legged mammal but also for us big two-legged mammals who enjoy watching. There haven’t been any reports of sick squirrels in the park, but it’s always a good idea to stay socially distant from them. Some of them have become too accustomed to humans. The other day while I was filming, one of them ran over my shoe.
More about this issue: Oxford Academic