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(Richardson's Ground Squirrel, Spermophilus richardsonii)
     The most notorious little animals around Lethbridge are Richardson's Ground Squirrels, otherwise known as GOPHERS.  They typically live underground in complex burrowing systems.  In these intricate systems, the Richardson's ground squirrels hibernate, mate, sleep, avoid predators, escape the weather and raise their young.  They are not very big animals, reaching maximum weight upon hibernation at 450 g for females and 600 g for males.
    The animals are mainly herbivorous and survive on leaves , flowers and seeds, although they eat insects and occaisionally scavenge meat, such as road kill.  They do not kill for their own meat, though.
    The burrows that the gophers spend most of their time in are like houses, so to speak.  There is more than more exit (5-7) and their are usually 2-5 sleeping chambers.  The systems can extend up to 10 meters underground and can go as deep as 1 meter.
    They are named after John Richardson, who was the first person to send specimens back to Britain in 1820.  He was a European naturalist.
The information above was provided by Dr. Gail Michener in the Biology Department at the University of Lethbridge.

Other such fauna in the area are rattlesnakes and gartersnakes (you'll be happy to know that I haven't seen either in the time that I have lived in Lethbridge).  White-tail and mule deer as well as the Pronghorn have been spotted in the area.  Other such animals include the cotton tail rabbit, badger, beaver, canada goose and porcupines

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