Richardson's Ground Squirrel with a mouthfulRichardson’s Ground Squirrel with a mouthful – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, -0.3 EV, natural light

Every time I see this image of this Richardson’s Ground Squirrel in northern Montana I have to laugh because of how full its mouth is. I’m not sure if the vegetation is material to line the burrow for a litter or food because they do eat nuts, seeds, grains and grasses as well as grasshoppers. We don’t seem to have this species of ground squirrel here in Utah but I know that they are abundant in northern Montana.

Richardson’s Ground Squirrels stand on their hind legs like Prairie Dogs do and have a shrill whistle, they also chirp and chatter.  They are native to short grass prairies but because of land being cleared for farming their range has spread and they can even be found suburbs. Richardson’s Ground Squirrels are considered to be agricultural pests because they will eat crop species.

Pests though they may be, they are a great deal of fun to observe and photograph. I know I just could not resist taking this photo.