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Sensitive Species

Southern Idaho Ground Squirrel

Southern Idaho ground squirrels are very similar to their northern cousin, the Northern Idaho ground squirrel. Both are grayish-brown and have striped tails, although Southerns have paler fur, which may be due to the fact that they dwell in sandy, light-colored soils and rangeland vegetation. They also have cheek pouches, which they use to carry nuts back to their dens. The squirrels spend a good portion of their lives underground. They emerge from hibernation early in the year, have an active feeding and breeding season above ground, and then return to their burrows in early summer. 

Southern Idaho Ground Squirrel
Southern Idaho ground squirrel     

Habitat: Their population is limited to the Weiser River Basin in southwest Idaho, where the landscape features rolling hills, basins, and flats at an altitude of between 2,200-3,200 feet. 

Food: Southern Idaho ground squirrels eat seeds, leaves, and vegetation. They must constantly collect and eat food to store up fat to sustain them through long winters.

Facts: The ground squirrel population in southern Idaho has declined dramatically over the past 30 years. The small mammal’s habitat is threatened by the encroachment of medusahead, an invasive weed that is spreading rapidly because of increasingly frequent fires. 

As the majority of squirrel sites reside on private lands, candidate conservation agreements with assurances (CCAA) have been developed with landowners to conserve the species without the need for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Landowners who participate in the agreements implement conservation practices on their lands to remove or reduce threats to the squirrels. In return, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assures the landowners that no additional regulatory restrictions will be placed on their land management practices in the future should the species be listed.

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Herbivore Mammals

Jackrabbit
Pygmy rabbit
Desert cottontail
Beaver
Eastern gray squirrel
Red squirrel
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Deer mouse
Kangaroo rat
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Carnivore Mammals

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River otter
Red fox
Long-tailed weasel
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Grizzly bear
Mountain lion


Amphibians

Salamanders

Long-toed salamander
Idaho giant salamander
Coeur d'Alene salamander

Frogs and Toads

American bullfrog
Columbia spotted frog
Western toad
Northern leopard frog
Pacific tree frog
Great Basin spadefoot

Reptiles

Snakes

Painted turtle
Northern alligator lizard
Mohave black-collared lizard
Short-horned lizard
Desert horned lizard
Sagebrush lizard
Western fence lizard
Western skink
Side-blotched lizard
Longnosed leopard lizard
Western whiptail


Bats

Western pipistrelle
Western small-footed myotis
Little brown bat
Yuma myotis
Townsend's big-eared bat
Hoary bat
Silver-haired bat
Fringed myotis
Pallid bat

Sensitive Species (not a complete list)

Greater sage-grouse
Pygmy rabbit
No. Idaho ground squirrel
So. Idaho ground squirrel
Canada lynx
Grizzly bear
Selkirk Mtns. woodland caribou
Kootenai White River sturgeon
Bull trout
Sockeye salmon
Chinook salmon
Steelhead trout
Yellow-billed cuckoo


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