Northern Idaho ground squirrel
|Northern Idaho ground squirrel|
(A. H. Howell, 1928)
The northern Idaho ground squirrel (Urocitellus brunneus) is a species of the largest genus of ground squirrels. This species and the Southern Idaho ground squirrel were previously considered conspecific, together called the Idaho ground squirrel.
The species has sexual dimorphism, with males being normally larger than females. Their weight ranges from 120 to 290 grams and are on average 233mm in length, though their range is 209mm to 258mm.
They hibernate eight months of the year.
The northern Idaho ground squirrel is found in Valley and Adams Counties, Idaho, in about 50 isolated demes (population groups) between 1150 and 2290 m elevation. The squirrel is currently listed as Threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Threats include past poisoning and shooting as well as fire suppression that allowed young trees to infill the meadows they inhabit. The most recent numbers from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game suggest a total population of the species of about 2000 individuals. Timber thinning and prescribed fire projects on the Payette National Forest have expanded some populations of northern Idaho ground squirrels.