Burrowing Animals – Ground Squirrels

Lesson Summary:

The lesson introduces the children to the genus of squirrels who dig and live in burrows. The reading could be used as a paired reading activity as the children will need access to this information to answer the questions in Activity A.  Activity B is a creative writing activity which encourages them to think more deeply about    the advantages of living in a burrow.


  • The children will demonstrate an awareness of the life style of the ground squirrel.

Subject Area:


Lesson Excerpt:

There are many animals that spend most of their lives living under the ground.  Woodchucks, badgers, gophers, moles and even some owls all dig burrows.  Probably the one we see the most often in our yards is the ground squirrel.   Ground squirrels belong to the Sciuridae family.  There are many different members of this family but all of them have one characteristic in common: they are able to stand up on their hind legs for long periods of time.  They do this to check for predators, and, if they see any sign of danger, they screech loudly to warn the rest of their community.

The Richardson’s Ground Squirrels, which live on the northern plains of America, dig burrows with up to 7 tunnels and up to 5 grass lined chambers.  If a predator, like a badger, follows them down one tunnel they can escape through another. In these burrows they sleep, hide from predators and raise their babies.  In summer they may store food, such as grass seeds, in their chambers, and during their winter hibernation they wake up every two weeks or so to have a meal.

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