ground squirrel


: any of various burrowing North American and Eurasian rodents (especially genus Spermophilus) of the squirrel family that often live in colonies especially in open areas (such as grasslands)

called also spermophile

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are one of the largest members of the ground squirrel family. Amy Schwabe, Journal Sentinel, 2 Feb. 2022 Borrowing ground squirrel burrows to beat the heat, meerkats emerge to get food in the morning and late afternoon. National Geographic, 27 July 2021 The plant owes its miraculous resurrection to a team of scientists led by David Gilichinsky, and an enterprising ground squirrel. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 20 Feb. 2012 The Arctic ground squirrel cools down to 27 degrees Fahrenheit. Gregory Mone, Discover Magazine, 19 June 2013 Drew holding an Arctic ground squirrel in her laboratory. Brendan I. Koerner, WIRED, 24 Nov. 2022 Either way, search the skies for circling red-tailed hawks, who conserve energy and gain altitude through rising columns of air (thermals) before diving acrobatically to swoop on unsuspecting SoCal prey, like the California ground squirrel. Matt Pawlik, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2022 The lead conservationist is a large, fluffy ground squirrel known as a marmot. San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Feb. 2022 Since squirrels haven’t been shown to recognize their own reflections, this trial let researchers observe how a ground squirrel would treat another member of its species. Maddie Bender, Scientific American, 17 Sep. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ground squirrel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1688, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ground squirrel was in 1688

Dictionary Entries Near ground squirrel

Cite this Entry

“Ground squirrel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

ground squirrel

: any of numerous burrowing rodents (as gophers and chipmunks) that differ from true squirrels in having cheek pouches and shorter fur

More from Merriam-Webster on ground squirrel

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