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

Pygmy rabbit 
Desert cottontail 
Eastern gray squirrel 
Red squirrel 
Deer mouse
Kangaroo rat 
Meadow vole 
Mule deer 
Bighorn sheep 
American pronghorn 

Carnivore Mammals

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



  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 



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 



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