Communication of Richardson's Ground Squirrels
(also known as gophers)
Vocal communication in Richardson's ground squirrels consists of a basic 'vocabulary' of various squeals, chirps, chirrs, whistles, and teeth chatters. They also give two types of alarm calls used to alert family members and the community of approaching danger. One call is predominantly given for aerial predators, which tend to approach rapidly in a straight line. It consists of a short, low-pitched chirp that changes frequency. The other alarm call is primarily associated with terrestrial predators, which tend to approach relatively slowly. It consists of a long, high-pitched whistle with a constant frequency. When this call is heard, ground squirrels stand up and scan the area.
Lactating adult female Richardson's ground squirrel alarm calling.
Richardson's ground squirrels using olfactory communication to identify family members by sniffing oral scent glands around the mouth.
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