RFI Richardson’s Ground Squirrel

I will be in the NW USA at the end of this month and will be driving from Spokane to Glacier NP, then down to Salt Lake City. Can anyone recommend good sites for Richardson’s Ground Squirrel along the way (or with as small a detour as possible)? also, does anyone know whether the Long-tailed Weasel Den at Glacier – which used to be along a trail there – is still active?



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13 Comments on “RFI Richardson’s Ground Squirrel”

  1. John Fox Says:

    Kays and Wilson’s range map says you are out of luck. A dash east on Rt 2, a beguiling road IMHO, is required. But it’s actually a two day trip, don’t speed through the Indian areas. Try not to run over the squirrels when you get there. They are known for being cannibalistic, their suicidal tendencies are less well reported, LOL.

  2. vdinets Says:

    Its range has expanded a bit recently, so it can be occasionally seen in Glacier NP, mostly along the eastern border. Other locations in Montana that I know of are Bowdoin NWR, Missouri Headwaters SP and Medicine Lake NWR. I don’t have access to any maps at the moment, sorry.

  3. John Fox Says:

    Well, Glacier and western Montana are lousy with Columbia GS. V might have some insight beyond mine, but….good luck figuring them out except by range. Medicine Lake NWR is good, but further east than you need to go. I didn’t look up the other places he mentioned.

    My trip report about Swift Fox has my details.

    • vdinets Says:

      Richardson’s has shorter tail and much duller coloration. It also has yellow collar or semi-collar and b&w tail tip. Columbia has grey-and-creamy tail tip and a white line along the side of the neck.

  4. vnsankar123 Says:

    Just looking at range maps, you might be best off for Richardson’s GS if you head north into the prairies towards Lethbridge into Canada. I saw them very near Calgary, but that might be a bit too far for you…

  5. Jon Hall Says:

    Dear all – thanks a lot. Very helpful. Sounds like Missouri Headwaters SP would be the smallest detour (its near Bozeman so more or less en route between Glacier NP and Fossil Butte in Wyoming), and there is also a population at Red Rocks Lakes nearby


    • mattinidaho Says:

      Red Rocks Lakes would have Uinta and Wyoming GS, but not Richardson’s. Wyoming GS was split from Richardson’s, but many refuges and reserves still are referring to mammal studies conducted prior to the split. The ones at Red Rock would be Wyoming GS. Same with Fossil Butte — all the signs and web site call the ground squirrels there “Richardson’s” but they are actually Wyoming GS.

      • Jon Hall Says:

        Thanks Matt – good job you let me know or I’d have been pissed in a month! After studying the range maps on the IUCN it looks like that whole area around Bozeman is a mine field of different species… so perhaps I might be better taking a detour north of Shelby MT where the only species in range appears to be Richardon’s…

  6. cmh78 Says:

    I was in Glacier last fall, and the weasel den that I saw years ago was not active. I’m not sure if that is the one you mean or not. I saw two weasels at different sites in western PA a couple weeks ago. You might walk small streams at night closer to home and have some luck.

  7. John Fox Says:

    Bit of an edit, it is not necessarily a two day trip to get into Richardon’s GS range, I was in no hurry when I was there. Though I know you’d do the research yourself.

    Also, a NJ Audubon trip to Glacier last July had a Wolverine run across the field right in front of them. The ground was still covered in snow so it must have been high up. My friend who was on the trip put up her pictures and just said “we saw a marmot and a chipmunk and a wolverine” {eye roll}. It’s a good data point, though.

  8. […] Cheryl Anontucci had told me that Zoo Montana was a failsafe spot to see Richardson’s Ground Squirrel so I decided to detour there on my way south to Wyoming, rather than agonise over identifying animals further west that might have been Uinta or Wyoming Ground Squirrels, or heading north into areas where I wasn’t so sure I’d find them (see the discussion here). […]

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