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  #1  
Old 08-28-2005, 10:35 AM
mxmvlcty mxmvlcty is offline
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Question

prairie dog = ground squirrel?


Hi, I have a friend who purchased a ground squirrel, but can no longer take care of it. I am interested in buying it from him, but want to do plenty of research first. When I went online, I had a hard time finding information on ground squirrels. I looked at some of the pictures in the forum, and she looks pretty similar, like a small squirrel with a short tail. Is 'ground squirrel' just another name for prairie dog? If so...

What are "ruts"? I have been poking around on this site for a while now, and it sounds a little scary...I'm not sure I want to own a pet who will suddenly turn on me.

Will she be all right moving to a new owner, or will she be unable to bond with me?

Any other useful beginner information, or advice as to whether or not I should go for this animal.

Thanks so much!
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Old 08-29-2005, 11:18 AM
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There are many many species of ground squirrels. Basically, squirrels are divided into two types, tree squirrels and ground squirrels. Ground squirrels include many species of chipmunks, prairie dogs, marmots, antelope squirrels, and other ground squirrels. If yours looks something like a prairie dog, its definately not an antelope squirrel or a chipmunk. However, how much like a prairie dog does it look like exactly? Do you have any pictures? Black-tailed prairie dogs are sold as pets, and occasionally chipmunks and woodchucks, but not many other species. Prairie dogs are always sold as just that though, prairie dogs, never as ground squirrels.

Could you gice a rundown of the color, pattern, and size? What exactly does the tail look like? Here are various types of ground squirrels, so I need a more detailed description from you, or a picture of it.

http://www.montereybay.com/creagrus/...antled-Yos.jpg

http://kaweahoaks.com/html/squirrel_onpost.jpg

http://www1.optusnet.com.au/images/w...m_squirrel.jpg

http://www.dereila.ca/na_nature/Colu...20Squirrel.jpg

http://www.suedafrika.net/Tiergifs/TErdhorn2.jpg

http://www.konza.ksu.edu/gallery/thi...d_squirrel.JPG

http://www.albertandbrady.com/images...-woodchuck.jpg

http://educate.si.edu/lessons/lewisa...ie%20dog_l.jpg
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Old 08-29-2005, 09:34 PM
mxmvlcty mxmvlcty is offline
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It looks most like the picture in the third link, but she's much fatter than that. she's about as big as two average sized hands, almost solid gray with a little white on her stomach and chest, and a tail that looks just like your everyday squirrel tail, only shorter. also, do ground squirrels get ruts like prairie dogs do? I'm going to give him a call tomorrow and see if he knows any more about what kind she is, and I'll let you know. in the mean time, any suggestions or advice? Thanks!
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Old 08-29-2005, 10:05 PM
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Does it look anything like these pics of my pd's?

Rut is when they come into season, usually late fall. Your once lovable, cuddly pd can turn into a moody, crabbing, biting monster. They can be spayed or neutered to help curb the behavior, but that doesn't always work.

Her ability to bond with you depends on how attached she was to her previous owner and how much time you spend with her. PD's that are by themselves need extra attention because they are social animals and can litterally go insane if left alone with no or little contact.

I do have to tell you that selling/buying/transporting PD's is now illegal thanks to the monkey pox scare that occured a few years ago.
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Old 08-30-2005, 09:48 AM
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Richardson's Ground Squirrels are slowly taking the place that prairie dogs were once in for being sold in pet stores. They're not nearly as common though. They look very similar, and at a glance most people wouldn't know the difference.

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Old 09-01-2005, 09:27 PM
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That's it, the Richardson's Ground Squirrel. Thanks for helping me ID her! Now...do these squirrels also have ruts? Also, any other information/suggestions/advice about these animals would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 09-02-2005, 11:07 AM
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I've never kept one, but I'd be willing to bet that they do have seasonal cycles like their cousin species do.

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Old 09-24-2005, 06:43 PM
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I have two RGS - and they are similar but very different to my prairie dogs. I got Scoutie & Ranger the end of May shipped up from S & S in Houston. They were tiny babies, but they had been handled down there.

They love to be petted, and cheeks rubbed, belly rubs. They don't like to be picked up. That's normal, and my other RGS George was the same way. They are very sweet, and gentle, run to the front of the cage for treats and kisses.

I feed them very similar to the prairie dogs - tons of hay, bunny basics t, prairie delight, and I mix a trail mix for them. They get a carrot of piece of lettuce or apple every day also.

Hope that helps!
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Old 09-25-2005, 11:03 AM
mxmvlcty mxmvlcty is offline
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Thanks Dallas! I have met with the squirrel being given away, and she seems open to new people. One more question, though, do your squirrels have "ruts" like prairie dogs do? Thanks a lot.
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Old 09-25-2005, 05:31 PM
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No, they don't which is one nice thing. They are really sweet, and a lot of fun. Buy her a nice safe wood house to play in, and she will also chew on it to keep her teeth down. I just bought the boys a new one - they got it today, and they already are chomping.

I keep their cage loaded with hay - no shavings, and cardboard boxes - like tissue boxes, just remove the plastic. They get pieces of cotton fabric which they use in their beds. No towels - the lint is bad for them just like the pds.

Actually my 3 prairie dogs were spayed/neutered before they were supposed to go into rut - and they never have. They are awesome all year long.

Hope that helps
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Old 09-25-2005, 05:57 PM
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I've read in Critter's Magazine that Richardson's Ground Squirrels don't go through rut as hard as prairie dogs. They're also legal buy and sell in many states.
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Old 10-05-2005, 11:39 PM
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Prairie dogs are not ground squirrels


I had two prairie dogs, but one passed away. As they are not for sale anymore, and I wanted my remaining prairie to have companionship, I looked into getting (and got) 2 richardson ground squirrels. I was told by several contacts (including a breeder) that they would get along, but THEY DO NOT. The squirrels are much more aggressive, and territorial, and frighten my poor girlie pd. I can't put them together ! Luckily I have enough room to do this, but it isn't what I had hoped for. They are okay with me, but could care less about being petted, and even fight with each other alot (not anything hurtful, just alot of noise making)

Does anyone have any advice? The whole point of getting them was for my pd, but it is NOT working out, and I don't know what to do.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 10-06-2005, 11:43 AM
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Richardson ground squirrels


Joanne,
Hi! I have 3 prairie dogs but two of them I just rescued a week ago. I have always wanted a RGS but I had one other person tell me that they did'nt like to be held and cuddled the way prairie dogs do. It could justbe his RGS I just don't know. They are so cute and do look alot like pd's. I lost my first pd after 6 years to the dreaded "O". I was'nt even sure I wanted another one after that. Losing her was so hard! I finally got Scooter and it was'nt but a few months later the monkey pox thing happened. I still can't believe that mess! Scooter has been such a blessing!! He is the most loving thing and just loves to be held! He has slept with me from the very first night!! My new bb's, Ginger and Teddy
are from someone who had not had them out in over a year so I'm not sure how long it's going to take to bond with them. Ginger is still chittering and jumping at the cage. I took Teddy out of there this morning and he let me hold him and pet him. I think he's going to be a sweetheart but not while Ginger is around. She would attack him if I even talked to him! She is fixed, but I think she might just be going through some rut right now. You have some great pets! Where in Florida do you live? Love, Cande
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Old 10-06-2005, 12:55 PM
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No, Prairie Dogs are illegal to purchase since the Monkey Pox mess. Very Sad.

My RGS are not agressive at all - they are actually sweet little guys.

I don't know who you got your RGS from, but I hope they didn't suggest them as companions for your PD. They are very very different - and I'm not surprised they don't like each other.
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Old 11-13-2006, 11:53 AM
fishtoes fishtoes is offline
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I'm New! Need Advice!


I'm new and don't know where to put this so here goes anyway....

I just purchased a Richardson's GS b/c I just found out there was NO way I could get a PD. I thought I'd surely be able to find one on the net but I had zero luck. I'm devastated by this because my prairie dog (she passed away 4 yrs ago) was the best pet I've ever EVER had (and I've had a few!).

Anyways...I got my little female RGS yesterday from S&S after much research and I'm hoping she'll come around soon in temperment. I'm so impatient! I've been using a shirt to get her out of her cage b/c I don't want to scare her (or me). She was doing great last night and would get eventually comfortable. I've been keeping my fingers away from her mouth b/c I'm afraid if I let her bite once and I don't discipline her just right she'll think it's okay to bite again. I raised Daisy (my PD) from a pup. She was awesome and it took a couple weeks to train her, but it's been 9 years and I'm kinda rusty. Any suggestions on detailed handling to help her bond and not bite??

P.S. I could also use some cutesy names suggestions?!?!
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cardboard box, cardboard boxes, pet store, pet stores, prairie dog, prairie dogs, social animals, tailed prairie dog




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