Animal #34 — Franklin’s Ground Squirrel

spermophilus franklini

July 3, 1996 — 11:30 am

Two Harbors, Minnesota — Two Harbors Lighthouse

We were taking a three-day trip up the north shore of Lake Superior with Steve and Kelli. We toured the Two Harbors Lighthouse. As we walked back toward the cars, I heard Kelli say, “Look at the rat.” I saw a ground squirrel foraging in a small short grass area on an island in the lot. It moved about slowly, then ducked into a tangle of brush.

It was silver-gray on the head and tail with a dark buffy red-brown on its back and sides. The tail was fairly long (with whitish edges) but not fluffy like a tree squirrel’s. I knew it was a ground squirrel but didn’t know what kind. I took notes and identified it when I got home. According to my field guide, it was somewhat out of its range, but Kelli got a good shot of it with my video camera.

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