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What is this little animal?
July 26, 2008 10:33 PM   Subscribe

What is this small animal?

A few weeks ago, I went to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and saw a small rodent-like animal in the grass. At first I thought it was a big chipmunk -- it was 1/3 to 1/2 bigger than the chipmunks that I see by my house -- but then I saw its weird tail that reminded me more of a rat.

It seemed to be digging through the grass and it was not very afraid of people -- I was able to get pretty close. After a minute, it bounded away. There were no trees nearby.

Sorry for the blurriness of the pictures. It's totally possible, too, that this is some super familiar animal but in my defense I did not grow up in the midwest and I also usually like to stay inside, away from small animals that look at me suspiciously.
posted by sugarfish to Pets & Animals (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Oh, and I also googled but things like "minneapolis rat like thing" aren't quite so helpful as one might think.
posted by sugarfish at 10:37 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I do believe you've got yourself a thirteen-lined ground squirrel there.
posted by barnacles at 10:37 PM on July 26, 2008


What barnacles said.

My cat thinks they are pretty tasty.
posted by Ostara at 10:39 PM on July 26, 2008


Oh, dude, got it in one. That's awesome. Interesting that it's the namesake for the Golden Gophers -- when I think gopher I think of something much bigger than that little guy.

Thanks so much!
posted by sugarfish at 10:39 PM on July 26, 2008


May I ask: did you know it was a ground squirrel (or "chipmunk") and wanted to know the species? Or, did you not even know what sort of creature it might be?
posted by Netzapper at 10:48 PM on July 26, 2008


I thought it was a chipmunk or something similar, but I've never even heard of ground squirrels.

I grew up in the southwest where we had prairie dogs and squirrels and jackrabbits, but nothing near the variety of small creatures that I see here. The other day I saw an animal in the street in front of my house and at first I thought it was a cat about to pounce on something. It wasn't until the thing ran away that I realized it was an honest-to-god beaver -- I'd never seen one in real life before.
posted by sugarfish at 10:55 PM on July 26, 2008


I saw an adult male wild turkey for the first time about two months ago. I thought, for a good four seconds, until it made it nearly across the road, that it was a small dinosaur. I thought that I'd just witnessed honest-to-god bigfoot shit.

Also, chipmunk == ground squirrel. Although there's an argument that there're a couple of ground squirrels that aren't chipmunks (based on lack of cheek pouches or something).
posted by Netzapper at 11:40 PM on July 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Also, chipmunk == ground squirrel.

no.

chipmunks are genus tamias, while ground squirrels are genus spermophilus. both are part of sciuridae, the family of bushy-tailed rodents.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 1:57 AM on July 27, 2008


It looks like it has tiny rodent cornrows. That makes it flipping LEET. Thanks for sharing.
posted by TomMelee at 4:05 PM on July 27, 2008


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