Richardson’s Ground Squirrel in northern Montana

/, Montana, Richardson's Ground Squirrels/Richardson’s Ground Squirrel in northern Montana

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.



  1. Jon Hall August 7, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Hi Mia, where was this taken? Its a species I want to photograph when I am in Montana at the end of the month



    • Mia McPherson August 7, 2014 at 3:49 pm


      This was taken in Glacier County near the town of Cut Bank.

  2. Julie Brown July 23, 2014 at 4:38 am

    Very amusing, Mia! I like the position of the front paws too.

  3. Jane Chesebrough July 22, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Thanks for the afternoon smile.

  4. Elephant's Child July 22, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    That is one HUGE mouthful. And a cheeky charmer.

  5. Julie G. July 22, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Fun photo! That’s quite a mouthful!

  6. Utahbooklover July 22, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    That’s a mouthful all right. Voles is our problem in Brigham City but their holes in the lawn are minor, however the neighbors complain about damage to their garden. I don’t think I’ve seen Richardson’s ground squirrels around here, but I do sympathize with the various critters we’ve crowded out due to our population explosion.

    • Utahbooklover July 23, 2014 at 11:22 am

      Just looked it up: the world reached 7-billion people sometime last year.

  7. Sherry in MT July 22, 2014 at 6:39 am

    Abundant is an understatement. They have now crossed my road and are invading my front yard! Pests indeed – pretty hard to mow when there are big mounds of dirt piled everywhere. They are busy buggers that is for sure!

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