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Ground Squirrel

Ground Squirrel
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-10-19
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC HX1, Sony G lens 20x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 125
Exposure: f/5.2, 1/800 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2013-04-04 9:11
Viewed: 3322
Points: 50
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Ground Squirrel / Xerus inauris

Today's image I would like to dedicate to Loot for many reasons. For those of you who do not know, Loot is my husband and it is he who introduced me to Trek Nature. Today is also our 32rd wedding anniversary and I am privileged to be Mrs Loot Eksteen. Further to that it is Loot who took me on 2 incredible holidays to the Cape Province in 2011 and once again in 2012, and during these holidays I was fortunate to take the most beautiful photos of all aspects of nature. This little rodent provided us endless pleasure with its antics and we really enjoyed watching and photographing it. Thanks Loot, for all you have done for me! I really hope that we will soon see some of your stunning photographs of these 2 holidays here on Trek Nature.

The South African Ground Squirrel is also known as the Cape Ground Squirrel. The length of this squirrel is 28 - 38cm and it weighs about 500 - 1100g. The colour of its coat is tawny yellow and there is a white strip on both sides of the body. There are two dark bands on its tail.

The South African Ground Squirrel is mainly found in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. Its usual habitats are open, arid country sides with sandy areas where it digs communal burrows. It feed on grasses, roots, shrubs, fruits, seeds, and sometimes, they feed on insects as well.

They do not hibernate. These squirrels are very social and live in groups with about 1 - 3 females and 2 - 3 males. Sometimes, the number of males can exceed up to 9 with some sub-adult females. An interesting thing about this breed is that mature males like to form their own groups and there can be 19 - 20 individuals in one group. These groups are called bands. Their home range is shared with other groups which is actually quite a surprising thing, since in case of most of the mammals there is generally an extremely tough competition to get the female. The group-living instinct of this species gives it a survival opportunity from predators overweighing the disadvantage of breeding opportunities which come from competition.

Breeding is asynchronous and there is no specific period of breeding although very few litters are seen above the ground in the months of July to October. Gestation period lasts for 48 days and the young ones are weaned after 52 days. There are 1 - 3 babies per litter. A female becomes sexually mature when she is 10 months old and a male matures at the age of 8 months. Although a female has the capability to breed throughout the year, less than 10% reproduce more than one litter in a year.

A young / baby of a South African ground squirrel is called a 'pup, kit or kitten'. The females are called 'doe' and males 'buck'. A South African ground squirrel group is called a 'dray or scurry'.

As the name suggests, this species is mainly a native of Southern Africa. It is found in Semi-desert regions of Kalahari and also in the central parts of South Africa, the Northern Cape, and Free State. The main habitats of South African Ground Squirrels are arid parts of South Africa, succulent Karoo, and Nama-Karoo biomes where annual rainfall is about 100 - 500 mm. These animals prefer to roam in open terrains which are covered with bushes. They are also found in floodplain areas, dry watercourses, open grasslands, or on grounds that are overgrazed. It is a colonial, gregarious, and diurnal animal. Source

I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

maaciejka, aruntp, Pitoncle, CeltickRanger, waylim, KOMSIS, marius-secan, Jakkals, anel, jusninasirun has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2013-04-04 9:36]

Hello Anna,
Congratulations to your 32rd wedding anniversary.
Great celibration with this fascinating photo of a Ground Squirrel. Superb sharpness, details and beautiful natural colours. Taken from the best possible low POV. Impressive eye contact.

Ciao Anna, great capture of cute creature in nice pose, excellent clarity, splendid light and colors, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Hello Anna,
really beautiful squirrel. A lot of details. Perfect point of view. Excellent presentation.
Thanks for sharing,

  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2013-04-04 11:54]

Hi Anna,
Lovely photo of this nice squirrel. Excellent
sharpness details in nice colours.
Regards Jiri.

Congratulations on the anniversary!!

Hello Anna,
Beautiful picture of this specie in its natural habitat.Well sharpness and natural colour made it very sweet looking.Well captured.
Thanks for sharing,
Kind regards,

Wonderful pose from this guy Anna. Focus is good with a good DOF. The lighting really makes this picture. I like the strong colours and good detail. A wonderful shot! TFS Trevor

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-04-04 14:49]

Hi Anna,very nice capture of this squirrel in a funny and curious pose,the quality of the pic is really perfect,great details,perfect colors and correct exposure,i like it! Have a nice day and thanks,Luciano

a beautiful closeup of squirrel in low angle. i love it, a rare photograph of this species like this. excellent work.

Bonjour Anna,
Très belle publication valorisant bien le sujet dans une attitude originale.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

Beautiful animal and beautiful photo Anna! Good composition, fantastic lighting and impressive sharpness.
Congratulations for your 32rd wedding anniversary.

Hello Anna

Happy 32rd wedding anniversary dear friend
to you and to Loot, your wedding date (4 April)
it is the same as my birthday date.

Excellent close-up photo of the Ground Squirrel
a great squirrel, on a beautiful pose, with a
very fine POV at its level, beautiful eye-contact
with the catch-light, beautiful light, great focus,
sharpness, details, and contrast, TFS


Hallo Anna
Thanks for the nice comments
and you have here a lovely picture
the sharpness and details are super good
colours are beautiful and naturel
thansk Anna gr lou

  • Great 
  • waylim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 296 W: 8 N: 489] (1765)
  • [2013-04-05 10:47]

Hi Anna,

This is a good shot. Ah, what a cute little guy, they are so much fun to watch as they run around so agile and full of energy. I love watching them. when we go hiking, every time we stop for lunch or snack, they will always come to accompany us, waiting for food off course, unfortunately, I'm not the type to share my food :) it is for their own good and for my good too, hehe, more for me to eat. But they end up with some drops of bread crumbs anyway. There are so many different variations of them from region to region. So it is nice to see some difference between them. this one has very short ears.


Hi nna,
Very amazing squirrel, excellent capture, TFS & best regards

Hello Anna,
a superb pose you captured with great detail and colour.
best wishes,

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2013-04-06 7:50]

Hallo Anna,
Very cute ..
Very beautiful photo in natural colours and a nice pose with eye contact.
Have a nice weekend,

Ciao Anna. Outstanding. The best details/sharp as possibile. A masterpice like gift for your our 32rd wedding anniversary.


Hello Anna
Superb photo, excellent light and detail.
Very nice pose. Good natural background.
Interesting species
regards yiannis

Wonderful capture with nice sharpness and colors.


  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2013-04-07 10:14]

Happy Anniversary, Anna and Loot!
The two of you have certainly contributed some of the most stunning nature photographs here on Trek Nature. Congratulations on both your anniversary and your outstanding gallery of South African fauna and flora.

What a lovely ground squirrel. It looks very different from ours.
You caught it in a charming pose, with excellent details and light.
He looks poised to do catch the next opportunity,
As the two of you always are, cameras in hand!

Thanks for sharing!

Hello Anna,
I am very busy in general and I have not very much time to spent on TN. Still I find a little time to admire this fascinating photos like this one. It has razor sharp details and very nice natural colors. The image is taken from a excellent POV with lovely light and best clarity. You catch a lovely image with perfect focus.....In my country are living also Ground Squirrels but they do not have the white stripe along their body.

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2013-04-07 19:10]

Hello Anna,
First of all Rosie and I would like to wish you and Loot a "Happy Anniversary!! We will be celebrating our 38th this July....how time flies when your having fun!!
I love your cute little Ground Squirrel who seems to be in a fully streached out relaxing pose. He reminds me of our Prairie Dogs out in the western states. We don't have any Ground Squirrels here in Ohio, but we do have Chipmunks that are just as adorable.
I noticed that the photo of the Ground Squirrel in your (Source) link has a very large tail, but this one seems to have a much smaller one. Is this a juvenile?

Hallo Anna,
Baie geluk met julle 32ste Huweliks herdenking! Die foto weerspieel die natuurlike gedrag van die diertjie. Tegnies kan ek niks verkeerd vind met jou foto nie!! Absoluut fantasties my vriendin en groete vir Loot.
Beste groete,

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2013-04-09 4:46]

Hello Anna,
Very cute little Ground Squirrel in a funny pose and with na interesting and vivid expression. Pleasing natural and sunny picture.

Hello Anna.
This is indeed a fine pose of the ground squirrel. Love the light and the eye almost looking at your glass. The tone is natural with vivid details of the fur.
Thanks and kind regards.

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