This morning I played golf at The 500 Club. This is the second time that I've played there but it must be one of my favorite courses. Each course has an interesting wildlife habitat that comes in from the desert to take advantage of the water that is so abundant on the golf courses. In fact, the golf courses are the modern day oases in the Arizona desert.
Most prevalent on this course is the Richardson's Ground Squirrel (Genus: Spermophilus). I've been calling the Gophers for about 18 months now but after a bit of research I discovered how wrong I was and I apologized to all the squirrels that I have misnamed.
They are usually very shy and dive into their holes when you come near them. The one in this photo was anything but shy. I was standing over my teed up ball and it ran over to inspect the ball and for a moment I thought it was going to knock it off the tee or take it away. Instead, he (or she - my squirrel sexing skills from 2 yards are not very good) sniffed it and then ran off.
It's cute! It looks kind of small, though. My father has ground squirrels on his New Mexico property, but they're almost cat-size.
You're right, they're tiny - about the size of a rat. Not nearly as big as a regular squirrel.
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