On a recent visit to Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, I made several photos of some rodents that were hanging around the rim of the crater – begging visitors for handouts. These colorful little fellows entertained visitors as they scampered about interacting with each other and the visitors. When I posted my first photos of these little guys, I identified them as chipmunks, but since then I have compared the photos to chipmunks and other ground squirrel photos and concluded that they are a specific type of ground squirrel, “a golden-mantled ground squirrel.” Several people have commented on how much they resemble chipmunks, and one person is adamant that “they are chipmunks.”
The 6 photos below are a mixture of photos I made and photos identified as “golden-mantled ground squirrels” from the internet. I believe the close similarity among all the six photos justifies my conclusion that the photos I made represent “golden-mantled ground squirrels.” Look carefully at these photos and try to pick out any feature(s) in any of the photos that you believe sets it aside from the others. Also pick out the photos I made and the ones taken from the internet. Please comment here or on my facebook link.
Here are few features which distinguish ground squirrels from chipmunks: Shot stock legs, short rounded ears, white rim around eyes, stripes on back but not on head, and of course, the golden mantle.