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San Joaquin (Nelson's) antelope squirrel        Images © Mark A. Chappell

The San Joaquin, or Nelson's antelope squirrel (Ammospermophilus nelsoni) is a small, pale ground squirrel found in the San Joaquin Valley (the southern part of California's 'Central Valley'), and a few adjoining areas.   It is an active semicolonial burrow-dwelling animal that favors arid, open grasslands and usually carries its white tail tightly curled over its back (probably the origin of the 'antelope' name).   San Joaquin antelope squirrels are now threatened because most of their habitat has been converted into farmland and subdivisions.   One stronghold is the Carrizo Plain National Monument, west of the southern Central Vally in San Luis Obispo county.   I took most of these images along the main road through the Carrizo.   The individual two rows down was photographed on ranchland in the Panoche Valley (a dry wash on the western edge of the San Joaquin Valley).   Apologies for the poor quality; the images were scanned from Kodachrome slides taken in 1974.

Other pages have pictures of two more common, widely distributed Ammospermophilus species, the white-tailed antelope squirrel (A. leucurus) and the Harris's antelope squirrel (A. harrisii) from southern Arizona and Mexico.

  • Canon 1D4, 800 mm IS lens plus 1.4X extender (2010, 2011, 2013)
  • two 'dull' images: Nikon F2, Leitz 560 F5.6 Telyt, Kodachrome film (1974)