Thursday, July 2, 2009


You may remember this little gal from a previous entry, back in May. It's hard to believe, but in only one month's time, she is now a full-grown adult, living on her own, and doing what squirrels do during the summer months - fatten up for the winter months.

I believe that she's a female because she has remained in the natal burrow with one other from the litter. This is normal behavior for female roundtails. The males have already moved on to new burrows of their own.

I'm amazed at how quickly small animals grow, especially rodents. She's nearly doubled in size, eating a diet that is almost exclusively vegetarian. They eat leaves and twigs, seed pods that drop from the native trees, cactus fruit, and the occasional carrot from the nice lady with the camera. I've read that they also supplement their diet with protein from insects, primarily termites. Thank you!

Anyway, just posting this so all can see the remarkable transformation that took place in only one month. Had I not been monitoring this litter of roundtails, I would never have recognized her (though her extreme willingness to pose for my camera may have been a clue).


  1. So darling Kathy! I love watching our squirrels when they are young. Unfortunately we also have a large Barred Owl and Cooper's Hawk in this area so our squirrel population is low right now.

  2. Wow! Its a joy to see her all grown up. They do grow fast don't they?

  3. I want to know what secret diet they are on. That sort of growth is amazing!

  4. It IS amazing. This is the only species of desert squirrel that has a true hibernation period, so my only guess is that they need to bulk up for that period. When they emerge from hibernation in the spring, they are quite thin. I don’t feed them anything that isn’t a part of their natural diet, with the exception of small bits of carrots, and an occasional grape. From what I’ve observed, they eat leaves, seed pods from the native trees, prickly pear paddles and fruit, cactus flowers, insects, and sometimes dead birds and carrion (ick). I observed one eating feathers, so I know they do consume plenty of protein.

    The other species of squirrels I have on my property remain a normal size, but they don't hibernate and will continue to feed throughout the winter (sometimes they go underground for a few days when it’s cold, but that’s it). I’m just throwing out a wild guess, but I’m thinking that their need to gain rapid weight is in preparation for several months underground.

  5. Awesome pics...I just love squirrels!!