It amazes me to see the wildlife hidden in the seemingly lifeless dusty desert landscape behind my home. I can see two trees in this tract of land, about 20 feet apart, with nothing in between or to either side to offer shade. And yet there must be a dozen Round Tailed Ground Squirrels that inhabit this space.
Tucked below the desert in their burrows during the heat, 2 Mamas, each under their own tree, come out and stand at attention during the cooler beginning and end of each day. At some unseen signal, 2 to 4 babies bubble up out the ground and begin to play. They wrestle, play tag and chase each other through the branches of their home trees.
Round Tailed Ground Squirrels eat seeds, nuts and foliage. I’ve watched them reach up, stretch their little bodies and grasp the tip of a low hanging, thin green branch for newly-green mesquite leaves. The most endearing part of the show is watching the breeze blow them side-to-side, lifting their tiny back paws off the ground, before they scramble up into the tree for a veritable feast.