Uinta Ground Squirrel

The squirrel is named after the Uinta Mountains, which are part of the Rocky Mountain range and are found in Utah and Wyoming.
Uinta Ground Squirrel Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Urocitellus armatus
Uinta Ground Squirrel Physical Characteristics
Brown, Grey
seven years
Top speed
32 mph
7.4 to 15 ounces
Uinta Ground Squirrel Distribition

” Potgut of the Hills”

This little ground squirrel, likewise called the chiseler or potgut, understands to make hay while the sunlight beams. For 9 months out of the year, it is oversleeping its burrow in among the 4 hill states where it lives. When the climate obtains also warm it estivates, and that estivation segues straight right into an extended period of hibernation. When the squirrel ultimately awakens it needs to discover food, discover a friend, elevate its infants, and stockpile seeds for the following snooze time. Keep reading for more information concerning this remarkable and uncommon rodent.

4 Extraordinary Uinta Ground Squirrel Realities!

Right here are 4 incredible realities concerning the Uinta ground squirrel:

  • Yellowstone Park, located mainly in Wyoming, is an excellent area to discover Uinta ground squirrels.
  • They are remarkably hostile towards each various other although they frequently stay in nests. Expectant females are particularly territorial.
  • Researchers think that the activity of their digestive tract biome permits estivating and hibernating ground squirrels to arise uninjured after such a long period of time without consuming.
  • They are great swimmers and water plants compose component of their diet.

Scientific Name

The Uinta ground squirrel is understood by a minimum of 2 scientific names. One is Urocitellus armatus and the various other is Spermophilus armatus Urocitellus originates from the Latin words for “tail” which is uro and citellus which suggests “ground squirrel.” Spermophilus originates from the Greek word for “seed,” which is sperma, and the Greek word for “enthusiast” which is philos Armatus is Latin for “armed.” There are no subspecies.


The Uinta ground squirrel is a tiny animal though it gets on the bigger side for a ground squirrel. It expands from 11 to 12 inches long, including its tail. After their extended period of inactivity, they consider concerning 7.4 ounces typically and eat up until they consider near to 15 ounces.

The shades of the hair are a mix of brown aficionado to cinnamon on the top and white and grey on the flanks and around the neck. The bottom is white or aficionado. The tail has to do with 2.4 to 3.1 inches long and is grey on the top and aficionado or white listed below. The shades of the tail assistance in the recognition of the rodent and identify it from the Belding’s ground squirrel, whose tail is red.

The tail of the Uinta ground squirrel is 2 to 4 inches long.iStock.com/ Michael Chatt

Uinta Ground Squirrel vs. Prairie Dog

It is simple for an individual to blunder a potgut for a prairie dog. They are both sorts of ground squirrels and recognition can be complicated. The animals vary not simply in appearances however in the method they act.

Initially, both come from various category. The ground squirrel comes from either Urocitellus or Spermophilus, while the prairie dog belongs to the Cynomys genus. Incidentally, the name suggests “dog- mouse” although the prairie dog is neither a dog neither a mouse. Though there’s just one kind of Uinta ground squirrel, there are 5 sorts of the prairie dog.

Physical qualities that assist with recognition consist of the dimension of the rodents. Expanded prairie dogs are a lot bigger than expanded Uinta ground squirrels. They vary from 12 to 16 inches long and consider in between one and 3 extra pounds. The mix- up comes when there’s an adolescent prairie dog beside a grown-up Urocitellus armatus

Additionally, the potgut has a white ring around its eye that the prairie dog does not have. The white- trailed prairie dog has black areas on the cheeks and over the eyes, and the black- trailed prairie dog has, as its name claims, a black tail. The endangered Utah prairie dog is more than likely to be misinterpreted for the Uinta ground squirrel as their arrays overlap rather, and the Utah prairie dog is smaller sized than various other sorts of prairie dog. The something that identifies this prairie dog from the ground squirrel is its black brows.

Prairie dogs are renowned for staying in “communities” that can make up countless people and cover several acres. Uinta ground squirrel nests seldom have greater than 2 loads people. Prairie dogs are caring with participants of their family team and kiss and bridegroom each various other regularly, however potguts are irritable despite having member of the family. Prairie dogs may tussle with complete strangers.

What both rodents do share is females remaining in their natal team and males leaving. Both Uinta ground squirrel males and male prairie dogs relocate right into various other family teams or nests. Prairie dog moms have a tendency to be conscientious to their puppies, however Urocitellus armatus moms desert their young after they’re discouraged.

One intriguing and weird aspect of the potgut is that it is just above ground for 2 or 3 months out of the whole year. Prairie dogs remain over ground a lot longer. Without a doubt, they do not hibernate, however if the climate is chilly, they will certainly enter their burrows and rest up until it heats up. The life expectancy of the Uinta ground squirrel and the Utah prairie dog is similar. Female prairie dogs can live 8 years in the wild, and the life expectancy of the ground squirrel has to do with 7 years.


These ground squirrels do stay in teams, however it appears that they hardly endure each various other. This is particularly real of females and a lot more real when they are expectant. They frequently squeal, tweet, roar, babble their teeth, and bristle their tails at each various other. This can bring about a fumbling suit which finishes with one squirrel going after the various other away.

They likewise utilize alarm system telephone calls. A chirp is thought to alert versus flying predators and a trill is made use of to alert of terrestrial predators.

When they are over ground, these rodents are energetic throughout the day. When it obtains also warm, they pull back right into their burrows and estivate. Grownups begin estivation initially, adhered to by juveniles. After that, as the climate expands chilly they enter into hibernation and do not arise from their burrows up until very early springtime. Grownups prepare to reproduce right away after they get up, and the males put down fragrances by cleaning the scent glands on their faces on the ground and requiring companions.


The Uinta ground squirrel resides in open locations with great deals of greenery in between 4,000 and 8,010 feet over water level. These environments consist of hill fields, valleys, hill meadow, shrublands, and various other areas where the dirt is soft sufficient for it to dig its burrow.


These ground squirrels are mainly herbivores. They eat seeds, which generated among the common names. They likewise eat yard, forb leaves, insects, spiders, earthworms, and human food. Some site visitors to Yellowstone Park and various other areas are charmed when among these little squirrels comes near them for a reward. Farmers are much less charmed as the potgut takes seeds from ranches and yards to save in its burrow throughout its lengthy snooze. The rodents are particularly keen on succulents and will certainly get in the water to include water plants to their diet.

Predators and Dangers

As a tiny rodent, the potgut has a range of various other animals that such as to eliminate and eat it. They consist of predators, badgers, weasels, coyotes, and grizzly bears. Humans likewise search them and run them over with cars.

Reproduction and Life Process

Potguts prepare to replicate right away after they leave hibernation in either March or April. Males arise initially, adhered to a brief time later on by the females. Time is important considering that the female is just responsive for one mid-day a couple of days after she leaves hibernation. Mating occurs underground, and males are polygynous.

The female is expectant for concerning 23 to 26 days and has around 5 puppies per clutter. They’re discouraged when they’re 22 days old and leave their mom’s burrow at the exact same time. Although they are still little, she takes no more treatment of them, and they are delegated take care of themselves. Females prepare to reproduce when they have to do with a years of age, and males prepare when they are a little older. The Uinta ground squirrel’s life expectancy has to do with 7 years.


The potgut’s variety is little when contrasted to a prairie dog‘s. It just resides in components of 4 states, and its numbers have not been counted. Still, its condition is least concern.


  1. ITIS, Available here: https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=930314#null
  2. wildlifenorthamerica.com, Available here: https://www.wildlifenorthamerica.com/Mammal/Uinta-Ground-Squirrel/Spermophilus/armatus.html
  3. The Conversation, Available here: https://theconversation.com/gut-microbes-help-hibernating-ground-squirrels-emerge-strong-and-healthy-in-spring-175610
  4. Yellowstone, Available here: https://www.yellowstone.co/wildlife/uintagroundsquirrel.htm
  5. National Park Service, Available here: https://www.nps.gov/brca/learn/nature/upd.htm
  6. The Green Life, Available here: https://thisgreenearth.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/animal-of-the-week-what-is-a-potgut/

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