The Heart is home to a variety of squirrels, including rock squirrels! They are interesting little creatures, tucking themselves away in our cliff faces and boulders. Though they are ground dwellers, rock squirrels are excellent at climbing. We often see them scurrying all over camp- especially the boulders by the kitchen!
Rock squirrels eat a variety of vegetation, including nuts, berries, wild herbs, tree beans, and the like. In the fall, they enjoy snacking on all of the pecans and acorns that drop around camp. In the spring time they harvest mulberries and blackberries. Using their external cheek pouches they are able to store food for later. Pockets in cliff sides and boulders serve as their pantry in the winer.
While they do not hibernate fully, they are typically cozy in their dens waiting for winter to subside. We see them sometimes, flitting around like shadows among the rocks.
In early summer, the baby rock squirrels emerge. Like their parents they are black, but they have white rings around their eyes. I picked one up one cold and rainy June morning to dry it off and put it back. Of course, it bit me. So lesson learned, though they are adorable, they are not cuddly!