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BC Conservation Data Centre: Species Summary

Callospermophilus saturatus
Cascade Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

Scientific Name: Callospermophilus saturatus (Rhoads, 1895)
Scientific Name Synonyms: Spermophilus saturatus
English Name: Cascade Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
English Name Synonyms: Cascade Mantled Ground Squirrel
Classification / Taxonomy
Scientific Name - Concept Reference: Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at:
Classification Level: Species
Taxonomy Comments: March 2012 - name changed from Spermophilus saturatus to Callospermophilus saturatus to align with NatureServe (DDW).
Species Group: Vertebrate Animal
Species Code: M-CASA
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Rodentia Sciuridae
Conservation Status / Legal Designation
Global Status: G5 (Apr 2016)
Provincial Status: S4 (Feb 2015)
BC List: Yellow
Provincial FRPA list:   
Provincial Wildlife Act:
COSEWIC Status: Not at Risk (May 1992)
SARA Schedule:
General Status Canada: 4 - Secure (2005)
Ecology & Life History
General Description:
Global Reproduction Comments: Copulation occurs in late April-early May. Gestation lasts 28 days. Litter size is 1-5 (average 4); one litter/year (Trombulak 1988). Females may breed as yearlings, males usually not until second year. Juveniles emerge from natal burrows in July-early August (Trombulak 1987).
Global Ecology Comments: May live in colonies, but population densities typically are low (3/ha in forest, 5-12/ha in adjacent meadow in Washington). Populations may be highest in parks where human refuse is available as food. Relatively mobile; large % of residents may be immigrants (Trombulak 1987). Sedentary in British Columbia. EUTAMIAS AMOENUS occurs sympatrically.
Migration Characteristics:
(Global / Provincial)
    Local Migrant:
    Distant Migrant:
    Within Borders Migrant:
Y /
N /
N /
na /
(Type / Subtype / Dependence)
Alpine/Tundra / Krummholtz / Unknown
Forest / Conifer Forest - Dry / Unknown
Forest / Conifer Forest - Mesic (average) / Unknown
Forest / Conifer Forest - Moist/wet / Unknown
Riparian / Riparian Forest / Unknown
Rock/Sparsely Vegetated Rock / Cliff / Unknown
Rock/Sparsely Vegetated Rock / Rock/Sparsely Vegetated Rock / Unknown
Rock/Sparsely Vegetated Rock / Talus / Unknown
Global Habitat Comments: Talus slides and clearings; krummholz; closed coniferous forest, pine woodland, and adjacent open meadows and sagebrush steppe Trombulak, in Wilson and Ruff 1999). In underground burrow when inactive (Trombulak 1988). Young are born in underground burrows.
Food Habits: Frugivore: Adult, Immature
Granivore: Adult, Immature
Herbivore: Adult, Immature
Global Food Habits Comments: Eats fungi (especially in fall), green vegetation, seeds, small fruits, carrion. In one study (Trombulak 1987), diet primarily VICIA leaves and fungi. Generally forages on ground, may climb into bushes and conifers.
Global Phenology: Diurnal: Adult, Immature
Hibernates/aestivates: Adult, Immature
Global Phenology Comments: Emergence from hibernation varies among years from mid-April to mid-May; yearlings emerge 1-2 weeks later than adults. Adults and yearlings end activity mid-August to late September; juveniles active into November and early December (Trombulak 1988).
Provincial Phenology:
(1st half of month/
2nd half of month)
Colonial Breeder: N
Length(cm)/width(cm)/Weight(g): / / 300
Elevation (m) (min / max): Global: 
Endemic: N
Global Range Comment: Cascade Mountains from southern British Columbia (west to the Fraser River, north to the Nicola River, east to the Okkanagan River) south to Columbia River in Washington (Trombulak 1988; Leung and Cheng, 1992 COSEWIC report).
Distribution UnitOccurrence StatusOrigin Status  
Biogeoclimatic Unit   
CMA - Coastal Mountain-heather AlpineConfident or certainNative or natural  
CWH - Coastal Western HemlockConfident or certainNative or natural  
ESSF - Engelmann Spruce - Subalpine FirConfident or certainNative or natural  
IDF - Interior Douglas-firConfident or certainNative or natural  
IMA - Interior Mountain-heather AlpineConfident or certainNative or natural  
MH - Mountain HemlockConfident or certainNative or natural  
MS - Montane SpruceConfident or certainNative or natural  
Ministry of Environment Region   
2- Lower MainlandConfident or certainNative or natural 
8- OkanaganConfident or certainNative or natural 
Forest District   
Cascades Forest District (DCS)Confident or certainNative or natural 
Chilliwack Forest District (DCK)Confident or certainNative or natural 
Okanagan Shuswap Forest District (DOS)Confident or certainNative or natural 
Authors / Contributors
Global Information Author: Hammerson, G.
Last Updated: Jan 24, 1995
Provincial Information Author:
Last Updated:
References and Related Literature
Banfield, A. W. F. 1974. The mammals of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Canada. 438 pp.
Dalquest. W. W. 1948. Mammals of Washington. University of Kansas Museum Natural History Publ. 2:1-444.
Ingles, L. G. 1965. Mammals of the Pacific States. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.
Leung, M. C.-Y., and K. M. Cheng. 1994. Genetic variability of the Cascade mantled ground squirrel (SPERMOPHILUS SATURATUS) in British Columbia. Can. J. Zool. 72:371-374.
Murie, J. O., and G. R. Michener, editors. 1984. The biology of ground-dwelling squirrels: annual cycles, behavioral ecology and sociality. Univ. Nebraska Press, Lincoln. xvi + 459 pp.
Stevens, V., and S. Lofts. 1988. Species Notes for Mammals. Vol. 1 in A.P. Harcombe, tech. ed. Wildlife Habitat Handbooks for the Southern Interior Ecoprovince. B.C. Minist. Environ., Lands and Parks, Wildl. Branch. Tech. Rep. R-15. 174pp.
Trombulak, S. C. 1988. SPERMOPHILUS SATURATUS. Am. Soc. Mamm., Mammalian Species 322:1-4.
Trombulak, S.C. 1987. Life history of the Cascade golden- mantled ground squirrel (SPERMOPHILUS SATURATUS). J. Mamm. 68:544-554.
Wilson, D. E., and S. Ruff. 1999. The Smithsonian book of North American mammals. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 750 pp.

Please visit the website Conservation Status Ranks for definitions of the data fields used in this summary report.

Suggested Citation:

B.C. Conservation Data Centre. 1995. Species Summary: Callospermophilus saturatus. B.C. Minist. of Environment. Available: (accessed Aug 20, 2019).