Ground Squirrel

Waaierstert grondeekhoring

Xerus inauris

The South African equivalent of North America’s “Prairie dog”.  This rodent is terrestrial and lives in burrows.  Clearly distinguishable from Suricate (no bushy tail and side stripe) and Yellow mongoose (reddish-brown and also no side stripe).  Endemic to the arid semi-desert areas.  Alarm call is a scream with flicking of the tail.


A favorite with the varmint hunting club that I belong to.  Farmers would contact the club for support shortly before planting season.  They dig up the seeds and this causes a no-crop result.  Where they are a problem, hunters are welcomed all year round.

There are 2 ways to hunt them:

Wait neat the den for their re-appearance about 20 minutes after the last shot
Drive around the area and take them from the vehicle before they disappear into the den.

CAUTION:  The nervous system of a Ground squirrel is as well developed as that of a $10000 SCI qualifying Sable antelope.  The only difference is that a wounded Sable will be tracked down and terminated with no effort to spare, whereas a wounded squirrel will be left to suffer underground for we don’t know how long.  So know your rifle and make sure about your shots!

Did you know?

Ground squirrels take over or share the dens of Suricate and Yellow mongoose.
They can distinguish between maize (corn) cultivars immediately after planting!!!!  And if you don’t believe this, contact me for proof.
It uses its tail as a sunshade, with consequent 5% reduction in heat intake.
They listen to the alarm call of birds.
Suricates bunch together when approached by jackal.  This makes them appear like one large animal advancing fearlessly!