Ground squirrel (Cape ground squirrel)
Total length 40 - 50 cm; tail 19 - 25 cm; average mass 650 gr
Easily identifiable species, being entirely terrestrial yet typically squirrel-like. Upperparts usually cinnamon-brown. Single white stripe runs along each side of body from shoulder to thigh. Underparts are white tinged with light brown in mid-belly. Coarse hair; white incisors.
Open areas with sparse cover and usually a hard substrate.
The ground squirrel is diurnal and appears in groups of usually 5 to 30 members. It excavates extensive burrow-systems. Females and young remain close to the burrow, whereas the males move from colony to colony. Ground squirrels can stand on their hind legs to observe their surroundings. Its bushy tail is often held over the body and head when the squirrel feeds and acts effectively as a sunshade. Its burrow-systems are often shared with the suricate and the yellow mongoose.
Grass, roots, seeds and bulbs, and also insects, particularly termites.