Stuck on Squirrels… or is it a… Gopher?

I come from South-Western Ontario.  We have ground hogs, which are big fat rodents burrowing holes in the ground and driving farmers up the wall by destroying crops and farm land.  Then we have squirrels.  Black ones, grey ones and the occasional red one. Most call them rats with furry tails.  Me, I love most animals, so they are not just ‘rats with furry tails’.

As I crossed Canada and into the prairies, there seemed to be some changes as to what I was used to seeing for these ‘rodents’.

This fellow below decided to make friends while I was camping in Saskatchewan.  As you can see, he enjoys strawberries quite a bit.  Of course, I was munching on peanuts as well, and he was more than eager to grab a few of those too.  But what is it?

 

Now this one is an easy one… I captured this photo on my new camera while hiking Edmonton’s River Valley.

The furry fellow above is a squirrel.
He (she perhaps), has an elaborate home in the trees here and was busy raiding a bird feeder just before I caught him above.  The problem is, there are over 250 types of squirrels in the world.  Perhaps all these furry creatures are just different types of squirrels?

What about this critter that I captured outside of Drumheller on a trip to the Atlas Coal Mine?

To me he seems to fit the “gopher” image we all have learned to love from the movie CaddyShack (and if you’re too young to know the movie, rent it, buy it, download it.  It’s a classic for us ‘middle-aged’ folks).

And finally, this curious critter was happy to grab some face time in front of the camera while on my trip to Going to the Sun Road in Montana (Glacier National Park).

friendly wildlife

But is this curious critter a Prairie Dog? Ground Squirrel? Richardson Ground Squirrel? Gopher?

Anyone with some answers?  Post up in the comments below and help me out here!

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