California ground squirrels are gray-brown in color and mottled or dappled with lighter flecks on their back. A mantle, or darker gray band of color, extends from the head down and over the middle of the back. The shoulders and sides of the head are light gray and under parts are light buff. There are rarely any stripes. The large size, dark mantle, and usual lack of stripes is how you can tell this speciesA group of individuals that have many of the same characteristics, and are different from all other animals in some important way. Hamsters and mice are two different species of rodent. from other ground squirrels in California.
These squirrels form loose colonies, but individuals tend to be by themselves. Several animals may live in one burrowNoun-A hole in the ground made by certain animals, like rabbits. Verb-To dig a hole in the ground., which typically is 3 to 6 inches wide and 5 to 200 feet long. Each animalAny living thing that is not a plant. Most animals can move about freely. All use plants or other animals as food. All have sensory organs. uses its own entrance, and it runs to its own "door," rather than the nearest, if there is trouble. Burrows are generally under a log, tree, or rock when one is available, but are otherwise in the open, with a mound at the main entrance.
Although they readily become tame in areas used by humans and quickly learn to take food left or offered by picnickers, California ground squirrels spend most of their time within 25 yards or so of their burrowNoun-A hole in the ground made by certain animals, like rabbits. Verb-To dig a hole in the ground. and rarely go further than 50 yards from it.