Squirrel Pups

Birds aren’t the only ones having babies in the springtime. Ground squirrels are doing it too. Here’s a couple of squirrel pups checking out the rocks at the water’s edge up in the Burrowing Owl Sanctuary. Squirrels this young are rarely visible in the park, and these didn’t stay out for very long. They heard some alert inaudible to human ears — not the repetitive yipping of a nearby adult — and scurried for cover.

Ground squirrel females generally give birth to one litter a year, which may have from five to eleven pups in it. The squirrels are not monogamous, so the pups of one litter may have several different fathers. It takes about five weeks before the pups can open their eyes, and they generally won’t leave the burrow where they’re born until they’re two months old. Because they’re small, they’re on the menu of a range of predators. Feathered raptors are a threat to them in the open, and gopher snakes can follow them into their burrows. So they are wise to be on the alert.

Ground squirrel pups (Otospermophilus beecheyi)

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