Stay at a Uinta Ground Squirrel Town in Yellowstone

screech of mammoth ground squirrel town

Uinta Ground Squirrel Screams

Most people go to Yellowstone hoping to see a grizzly bear, wolf or bison. But the great thing about the park is all the little bonus animals you’ll be surprised with along the way. We didn’t realize when we booked at cabin at Mammoth Hot Springs that we would be staying on a Uinta Ground Squirrel town.

The Uinta (pronounced You Inta, as in You inta squirrels?) is only found in Wyoming, Utah, Montana and Idaho in the Rockies. You’ll see them here are there on trails and by visitor centers. But the colony at Mammoth Hot Springs really should be promoted as its own Yellowstone attraction.
mammoth ground squirrel alarm
Whoever built the cabins, which have a bushy-tailed ground squirrel carved into the sides, here certainly knew that the squirrels would be very visible. My husband David and I pulled up mid-afternoon and the big, grassy courtyard was full of hot-headed squirrels screaming at each other. At first they were squealing frantic warnings to each other about us. We could only see the families of squirrels pop up in holes on the other side of the courtyard. But after we settled in for lunch on the porch they calmed down and we realized there was a big group living right under our cabin, too. They are cousins of prairie dogs, which are also rodents in the squirrel family (just chunkier).

The ground squirrels aren’t exempt from Yellowstone’s strict, no-feeding-the-animals policy–no matter what the squirrels tell you. Earlier I’d seen some little boys at Canyon Lodge giggling as they took pictures of ground squirrel and claimed that he licked their finger. I don’t really believe the squirrel was gentle enough to lick a tiny finger, but I do believe that the squirrels have worked out that they can get some food off people. While I was taking pictures one squirrel got up on the porch behind me and ran off with a ziplock bag full of trail mix (which I quickly got back). A woman on the cleaning crew told me that they get into everything. A few minutes later I saw a lactating mother try to get into the crew’s garbage bag.

Where to Go See Animals Out West

Where to Go See Squirrels

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