Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 08/06/2014

Photo taken on June 10, 2014

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Ground Squirrel
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Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel
Striped Ground Squirrel
Spermophilus tridecemlineatus
rare in Calgary
© Anne Elliott 2014
13-lined Ground Squirrel
side view
Ictidomys tridecemlineatus

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Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel

Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel
Tuesday, 10 June 2014, was a most unfortunate day, for many of us. In the afternoon, four of us met up to go for a botany walk in North Weaselhead. Shortly before we were supposed to start, a lady came over to us in the parking lot, to let us know that our leader, Karel Bergmann, had just been in an accident. She said that he was so concerned about the rest of us wondering where he was, that she very kindly offered to drive to the park and find us and give us the news. I had seen a fire truck blocking the road, and so had turned up the road just before the one I needed, but of course never dreamt that it was there to help Karel. He was riding his motorcycle, when a young man (who was very upset over the accident, apparently) turned in front of him, cutting him off. Karel's leg was broken, which means that he will be missing the joys of summer - and we will be without a great leader for plants and mushrooms. We are all so thankful that the accident wasn't worse than it was! Good luck with your recovery, Karel! It will be so good to have you back with us once your leg has healed.

Two of us decided that we would still go on the walk, despite Karel not being with us. I knew that we would most likely see only a few of the plants, but we did our best, and enjoyed ourselves. Towards the end of our walk, I heard a rustling in the leaves and bushes at the edge of the path and was really hoping that it might be one of these beautiful, small Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels. We found two of them! Such a treat.

The information below is now outdated, but still of interest. The last few years, these animals have also been seen occasionally in Weaselhead.

"The Thirteen-lined or Striped Ground Squirrel, if it still exists here, may be the rarest mammal in the Calgary area today...... Calgary sightings: the only known location in Calgary where this species has been sighted is in South Glenmore Park, to the northwest of the park building. It was last reported on 28 April 2002 and 6 June 2002. A population occurs near Millarville (south of Calgary), where one was reported on 17 April 2005. " From the talkaboutwildlife website, which unfortunately no longer exists.