Yellowstone National Park is a home to the Uinta Ground Squirrel, a small rodent resembling a prairie dog. If you are visiting Yellowstone, look for them at Mammoth Hot Springs, where you are likely to see them during early summer. Although small in size, the Uinta Ground Squirrel is an interesting little creature. Here are four fun facts about the Uinta Ground Squirrel.
1. The Uinta Ground Squirrels at Yellowstone Often Start Hibernating in July
Uinta Ground Squirrels wake up from their hibernation around March. However, they aren’t up for very long – come mid-July, the Uinta Ground Squirrels go back into hibernation. If you’re looking to visit Yellowstone in late summer, don’t expect to see these little guys around.
2. Different Name, Same Animal
In northern Utah, Uinta Ground Squirrels are called Potguts. It is also the name of a Utah town outside of Fishlake National Forest. Others call them sage rats, whistle pigs, and gophers.
3. The Uinta Ground Squirrels at Mammoth Hot Springs Love Winter
Although most Uinta Ground Squirrels hibernate all winter, the ones at Mammoth Hot Springs are known to wake up during winter. Wildlife experts believe the warm ground in the area around the hot springs trick them into thinking winter is over.
4. Uinta Ground Squirrels are Herbivores, Except…
The Uinta Ground Squirrel is usually herbivores. They do make some exceptions, though – they will eat earthworms and, if available, human food (including meat).