Yesterday a California Ground Squirrel visited our backyard. A couple of years ago we had a ground squirrel that hung around the bird feeders during the winter.

This ground squirrel seemed very wary and stood erect never moving like a stone statue for almost a minute. I ran to get my camera thinking that it would be gone by the time I got back. Luckily, the squirrel was still standing like a statue.

The squirrel’s upper parts are mottled, the fur containing a mixture of gray, light brown and dusky hairs; the underside is lighter, buff or grayish yellow. The fur around the eyes is whitish, while that around the ears is black. The tail usually lies flat on the ground and does not arch up over its back as with other squirrels.

This picture isn’t very clear but it shows the grayish mottled coat and the tail.

The California Ground Squirrel is a common ground squirrel of the western United States and the Baja California peninsula; it is common in Oregon and California and its range has relatively recently extended into Washington and northwestern Nevada.

California Ground Squirrels live in burrows which they excavate themselves. Some burrows are occupied communally. Although they readily become tame in areas used by humans, and quickly learn to take food left or offered by picnickers, they spend most of their time within 25 m (82 ft) of their burrow, and rarely go further than 50 m (160 ft) from it.