Fun Rock Squirrel Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Interesting rock squirrel facts can never get boring for any kid to learn.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.1 Min

Do you love squirrels? Then you find this article interesting!

Rock squirrels belong to the family Sciuridae of animals and are one of the largest ground squirrels of all. They are found mainly in the regions of New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Idaho, parts of Arizona, and many other smaller regions of North America. They are omnivores and their food consists of nuts, fruits, leaves, the bark of trees, and seeds too. They store their food in their burrows.

Male and females are polygamous and females give birth twice a year. Their first litter is born during May-June and the second during September. The young and adult squirrels have a brownish-black tone of their lower parts, the front and head are usually chestnut brown and dark gray-brown. Even though they are categorized as ground squirrels they look more like tree squirrels. These squirrels are one of the very few other squirrel species that are kept as pets.

For more relatable content, check out these flying squirrel facts and red squirrel facts for kids.

Rock Squirrel Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a rock squirrel?

As the name goes, this animal is a squirrel that belongs to the Sciuridae family.

What class of animal does a rock squirrel belong to?

Rock squirrels belong to the Mammalia class of animals like the

How many rock squirrels are there in the world?

Even though these ground squirrels are of the Least Concern, the exact number of their population is not known.

Where does a rock squirrel live?

This is a North American species of ground squirrel. These rock squirrels are found mainly in the regions of New Mexico, southern Nevada, Texas, Colorado, Idaho, California, and Oklahoma.

What is a rock squirrel habitat?

This brown-black rock squirrel habitat is usually focused in the rocky regions of New Mexico and other parts of the United States. This range of rock squirrels is easily seen in the urban hillsides, talus slopes, rocks, canyon walls, boulder piles, and cliffs. Most of their population builds a burrow beneath rocks to hibernate and save themselves from cold during winter. Although, many of these squirrels in the southern areas are observed not to hibernate.

Who do rock squirrels live with?

These rock squirrels live in small colonies with many females and just one dominant male is responsible to fight all the other mature males. A group of them together is usually called a scurry or a dray.

How long does a rock squirrel live?

An average lifespan of the Otospermophilus variegatus would range between two to three years in the wild. If provided with good care, they might also live for nine years.

How do they reproduce?

Rock squirrels are polygamous in nature. Females are known to give two litters of three to nine offsprings each every year. Their first litter occurs during May-June and the second during September. There are a few aggressive outbreaks amongst the males as the dominant ones try to protect the several females in the colonies during the mating season. There are a few subordinate males seen lurking outside the boundaries if at all they can find a mate. Once the pairs are formed the mating takes place between April and June and later between August and September. Females give birth to two litters during these months.

After mating, females live in their burrows and go through a month-long gestation period. The young pups remain inside their burrows. They are looked after by females for a span of two months before the young ones leave the burrows and live by themselves.

What is their conservation status?

This species of ground squirrels is marked Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Rock Squirrel Fun Facts

What do rock squirrels look like?

Both male and female rock squirrels look alike. They look more like tree squirrels than the other ground species. Their coloration might vary based on their geographical locations. Usually, their lower body has a brownish-black tone and the underside of their fur is pinkish-white in color. When observed their front is grayish-brown and their back is often grayish-black. These squirrels have a long bushy tail, big heads, and large black eyes. They have small necks and ears. Their legs are muscular and have sharp claws that help them to dig their burrows for shelter and food storage.

Rock squirrel has dark black eyes with small ears and grayish-brown-black body.

How cute are they?

They have a long bushy tail that makes them the cutest ones of all the ground squirrels.

How do they communicate?

Their vocal and tactile skills to communicate with the other. They have five different calls that they use to alarm their colonies. Their call range can be observed from a short yet sharp oscillating call to a long whistle or chucking sound. They make these sounds from inside their burrows. The young ones communicate with their mothers and siblings with the touch of their noses. The adults use their scent glands to mark territory and attract a mate, especially between the April and June as well as August and September mating months.

How big is a rock squirrel?

The rock squirrel is considered to be the largest ground squirrel with a size range of 17-21.2 in (43-53.8 cm). They are almost twice the size of flying squirrels that have a length of 8-10 in (20.3-25.4 cm).

How fast can a rock squirrel run?

These rock squirrels like other squirrels can run as fast as 20 mph (32 kph)and can even climb the trees whenever they need to find food.

How much does a rock squirrel weigh?

The average weight of these rock squirrels can be observed between 1.3-1.8 lb (600-850 g). They have a similar weight as the Arctic ground squirrel 1.15-3.30 lb (524-1500 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male rock squirrel is called a buck and the female is called a doe just like the fox squirrel.

What would you call a baby rock squirrel?

Baby rock squirrels are known as pups or kittens too.

What do they eat?

The rock squirrels are omnivores. The basic died of this ground squirrel consists of leaves, grains or seeds, walnuts, pine nuts, plant roots, fruits, and flowers too. This rock squirrel diet would also include a bunch of insects, small bird eggs, and worms.

Are they harmful?

Rock squirrels can be carriers of human disease, hence they might be harmful to people. They are also destructive crop pests as they feed on the grains in the farms.

Would they make a good pet?

Most states consider it illegal to keep the squirrel as a pet. Even then, rock squirrel is one of the commonly kept pet squirrels. They would be seen kept as pets in Mexico and a few other southwestern parts of North America.

Did you know...

Can a rock squirrel control environment growth? Absolutely! These rock squirrels play a vital role in the environment as they bury their seeds in their burrows for food storage and often forget about them. This leads to the growth of a new plant.

Do rock squirrels climb trees?

Yes, even though they are not tree squirrels, they can climb trees to collect pine nuts or other fruits and leaves.

How do you get rid of rock squirrels?

Rock squirrels tend to be found in rocky hill-like regions. They make their burrows under these piled-up rocks in Mexico, Texas, and other regions of their origin. Hence, the easiest way to avoid having rock squirrels is to eliminate all the debris, pipes, and rock piles near your surroundings. If a rock squirrel has entered your home or backyard you may also try a few DIY traps.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Indian palm squirrel facts and flying squirrel facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable rock squirrel coloring pages.

Rock Squirrel Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Small bird eggs, worms, insects

What Type of Animal were they?

Omnivore

Average Litter Size?

3-9

How Much Did They Weigh?

1.3-1.8 lb (600-850 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

urban hillsides, talus slopes, rocks, canyon walls, boulder piles, cliffs

Where Do They Live?

new mexico, southern nevada, texas, colorado, idaho, california, oklahoma

How Long Were They?

17-21.2 in (43-53.8 cm)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Mammalia

Genus

Otospermophilus

Family

Sciuridae

Scientific Name

Otospermophilus variegatus

What Do They Look Like?

Brown-gray-black

Skin Type

Fur

What Are Their Main Threats?

humans, coyotes, golden eagles, gray foxes, dogs, cats

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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