Franklin’s ground squirrel (Poliocitellus franklinii) is a medium-sized squirrel but a large ground squirrel. It is the largest and darkest ground squirrel in its range. It occurs in the tallgrass prairie region in the United States and Canada. It is considered scarce in Minnesota. It is found in areas with tall vegetation including edges of fields and prairies, open woodlands, and edges of marshes.
Franklin’s ground squirrel is superficially similar in appearance to an eastern gray squirrel but it is smaller and has a shorter, less bushy tail, shorter ears, and a more pointed snout. The coat (pelage) is short and dark gray with pale and dark flecks and a brown wash over the back and rump.
Franklin’s ground squirrel spends most of its time in an underground burrow that can be up to 8 feet deep. It is tolerant of humans and can be seen at camp sights, in state parks, and at dumps. It is omnivorous, feeding on plants, ground nesting bird eggs, insects, and small animals, including other ground squirrels.