Photographing a Young Uinta Ground Squirrel in the Wasatch Mountains

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Young Uinta Ground Squirrel in the Wasatch Mountains, Little Emigration Canyon, Summit County, UtahYoung Uinta Ground Squirrel in the Wasatch Mountains – Nikon D500, f10, 1/1250, ISO 500, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

May… the month where baby Uinta Ground Squirrels seem to show up everywhere within their favorite habitats which include shrubsteppe habitat, mountain meadows and pastures with elevations of between 4,000 and 8,010 feet in areas of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah.  (Range map)

The adult females will stay with their young for a only few months and then she will go underground to hibernate and estivate leaving her young to fend for themselves for a few weeks longer. The young will need to fatten themselves up before they head underground too. Uinta Ground Squirrels hibernate for about 9 months of the year.

Since they are only above ground for such a short period I try to take as many photos of these “Potguts” as often as I can. I adore them.

I took this photo of a baby Uinta Ground Squirrel three days ago in the Wasatch Mountains.

Life is good.


A few Uinta Ground Squirrel Facts:

  • Uinta Ground Squirrels have cinnamon colored heads, faces and ears, brown to buff upperparts, small ears and buff tails mixed with black.
  • Uinta Ground Squirrels estivate and hibernate. Males emerge first in the spring.
  • They inhabit open areas like shrubsteppe habitat, meadows and pastures with elevations between 4,000 and 8,010 feet.
  • They eat grass, seeds, forbs, worms and food humans discard.
  • Uinta Ground Squirrels have about 5 young per litter, they have one litter a year.
  • A common nickname for Uinta Ground Squirrels is “Potgut”.
  • Uinta Ground Squirrels can live up to 7 years


  1. Pepe Forte May 23, 2018 at 11:03 am

    Wonderful detail and textures. I can practically count every hair on the squirrel. Thanks Mia.

  2. Marty K May 20, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    So cute! Didn’t realize they spent that much time hibernating. Thanks for the info on that, Mia. 🙂

  3. Elephants Child May 20, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Hibernate for nine months of the year? My partner is obviously a wanna-be Ulinta Squirrel. Not nearly as cute though.

  4. Patty Chadwick May 20, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Raises the question: How cute can you get??? Like the one you posted today and all the others, too.

  5. Bob mcpherson May 20, 2018 at 6:42 am


  6. KathyG May 20, 2018 at 5:23 am

    Sure is a cute little fella! Very surprising life style for these guys…hibernate for nine months…what a life! Doesn’t it make you wonder sometimes of their life’s ‘purpose’? What do you do for only three months of activity…

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