Uinta Ground Squirrel in Montana

Sitting Uinta Ground SquirrelSitting Uinta Ground Squirrel – Nikon D7100, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC at 500mm, natural light

Even though Uinta Ground Squirrels are called pests, vermin and varmints by some people I happen to like them a lot as photographic subjects. Uinta Ground Squirrels have a limited range in north central Utah, western Wyoming, southeastern Idaho and southwestern Montana and are most often found in mountain meadows and moist mountain valleys.

I was very happy to photograph a cooperative Uinta Ground Squirrel in Montana on my recent trip to the Centennial Valley.

Standing Uinta Ground SquirrelStanding Uinta Ground Squirrel – Nikon D7100, f8, 1/2000, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC at 500mm, natural light

Uinta Ground Squirrels are only active about three and a half months of the year and the rest of the time they spend underground in burrows hibernating where they live off the fat in their bodies and seeds they have stored for the winter.

Resting Uinta Ground SquirrelResting Uinta Ground Squirrel – Nikon D7100, f8, 1/2000, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC at 500mm, natural light

Usually by the end of July adult Uinta Ground Squirrels have already gone underground to hibernate though the young squirrels may linger above ground a few weeks longer. I know that if I head back up to Montana in August or September I won’t be seeing or photographing these squirrels. I know I am always happy to have them in my view finder.



  1. Jane Chesebrough August 2, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Yes, I know people who have had bad falls off horses when they have stepped in a hole but these guys are so cute. In Jasper there are some places where their cousins,the Richardsons, will come and pose beside the tourists.is that last one meditating or falling asleep?

  2. Elephant's Child July 31, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    People are often pests and vermin too. And rarely this cute. Or photogenic.

  3. Patty Chadwick July 31, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Mia! These are such wonderful shots…can’t pick a favorite! They are all so cute. We have a slew of chipmunks snd squirrels. They undermine our flagstone patio and driveway,chew the bark off of our Hemlocks, chew holes in our fascia boards, dig up and destroy most of what I plant….and I love them! We were outside eating peanuts one day and they (two adult Blue Jays, 5 young squirrels, about 7 chipmunks, and 1 Boat-tailed grackle) came around to watch. We tossed them a couple of peanuts, which they quickly snatched up and took off with. Now they all squeak or call for us to come out and give them something. I always feel guilty doing it, know why we shouldn’t…and do it anyway. As I figure it, I’ve been obedience trained by these guys and obeying becomes automatic…interestingly, they don’t have the same relationship with each other or other people, including our grown kids. I had koi once that were like that, too…would rise to the top of the water when I’d appear, or clap my hands, but dive for the bottom if they saw an unfamiliar
    face…”Dumb animals”!!!

  4. Sherry in MT July 31, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Totally HATE having them invade my yard but they are funny to watch.

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