I’ve been seeing this curious critter a fair bit up in the higher elevations of the rocky mountains of Alberta and earlier this year was able to identify these squirrels as the “Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel”.
You might initially think it’s a large chipmunk – but if you look closely, you’ll notice the Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel lacks the dark stripes on his face.
Here is a typical chipmunk – smaller and with stripes on his face.
You’ll find the chipmunk in a lot of the same areas, but from what I’ve noticed, the chipmunk prefers lower elevations with lots of trees to call home, where the Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel seems to be quite content in higher elevations making it’s home under ground.
I may have been lucky all the times I’ve come across a Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel, but they all seem to be very curious creatures and seem to gladly play around with you and pose for the camera.