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CIVR Blog: Catalina’s Beechey ground squirrel

Photo credit: http://www.solpugid.com

Photo credit: http://www.solpugid.com

Catalina’s second largest native mammal

Catalina Island is home to a number of iconic species. Bald eagles soar over the island’s coastline. American Bison, although not native, have become a must-see attraction. The diminutive Catalina Island fox has been brought back from the brink of extinction.

That fox is Catalina Island’s largest native mammal. The large grazers, including bison and mule deer, have been introduced by humans to the island and are not considered native. Visitors don’t need to venture into the interior to meet Catalina’s second largest native mammal. The Beechey ground squirrel has made its home on the island for thousands of years. This small rodent eats just about anything, including roots, seeds, eggs and insects. It can be found throughout Southern California, including on Santa Catalina Island.

Like its name suggests, these squirrels spend most of their lives on the ground, living in burrows and foraging for food. They can frequently be spotted at the Catalina Island Golf Course, where they keep the groundskeepers busy and at the Airport in the Sky, where a particularly cheeky squirrel is known for stealing candy from the DC-3 Café.

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