Meet The Rodents of Jasper National Park

Meet The Rodents of Jasper National Park

It’s hard not to get caught up in the enormity of Jasper National Park, being in the heart of the Rockies it is utterly engulfed by mountains… in fact, the only small thing about it is the town. There are more hiking trails than days in a month, more vantage points than days in a year and everywhere you look there is something new to see, with most of them being above you. But while craning your neck trying to squeeze everything into view be sure to look down once in a while, cause you never know, there might just be some cute little critters scurrying about.

The list below is not exhaustive by any means, these are just a few rodents of Jasper that we happened to stumble across on our ultimate Canadian road trip and fall in love with, while wondering around the National Park.

 

 

The Pika: 

A curious little mammal related to the rabbit who may or may not be bothered by your presence. This one sat rather unperturbed but as for the others, we’ve barely caught a glimpse. Pika’s squeeze themselves into the crevices within rock piles close to meadows, keep an ear our for their whistle.

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Jasper National Park, Ultimate canadian road trip, Pika

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The Hoary marmot: 

The biggest of this group of animals, the hoary marmot lives in meadows, alpine forests and rocky mountain slopes. We saw quite a few lazing about in the Edith Cavell area near the terminal moraine, one which didn’t seep too bothered by us at all. Eating grasses, green plants and seeds, this busy bee prepares for hibernation and will fend off any critter getting too close. I can’t help but think it reminds me of a grumpy grandpa 🙂

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Jasper National Park, Ultimate canadian road trip, Rodents, marmot

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The Red squirrel:

This accomplished acrobat shouldn’t be very hard to find, or hear but catching him still enough to take a picture, well that’s the real challenge.  The red squirrel is prevalent around campsites, lake shores and almost everywhere else you find lots of trees. You will hear them loudly trilling as they warn fellow squirrels of your presence.

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 Jasper National Park, Ultimate canadian road trip, red squirrel

 

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The Golden-mantled ground squirrel: 

Known for scabbing crumbs from your picnic lunch, the Golden-mantled ground squirrel is not shy. They tend to live dry rocky places at high elevations, so keep a look out on your hikes in Jasper National Park.

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Jasper National Park, Ultimate canadian road trip, golden mantled  ground squirrel

 

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The Thirteen-lined ground squirrel: 

The strikingly elaborate pattern on the back makes the thirteen-lined ground squirrel easy to distinguish. Even though this insect eating machine is much bigger than a chipmunk they are still a part of the same family along with marmots and squirrels. Keep a look out in flat grassy knolls at lower elevations where they will be guarding their holes.

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Jasper National Park, Ultimate canadian road trip, thirteen-lined ground squirrel

 

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The Columbian ground squirrel:

This chubby little fellow is common in meadows at all elevations and can been seen regularly on the Edith Cavell hike though the meadows. They are very active in daylight and graze on any roots or flower buds nearby. When alarmed, the Columbian ground squirrel stands upright and makes short sharp bursts of noise to alarm other members of the burrow.  ‘Allen, Allen…..’ might ring a bell.

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Jasper National Park, Ultimate canadian road trip, Columbian ground squirrel

 

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The Least Chipmunk:

Don’t be fooled by this little guys cuteness, he is the notorious camp robber. You are likely to find him around cafes, your camp stores or anywhere there is food, foraging for crumbs. Even though the Least chipmunk is the smallest of this list, his presence is enormous, I’ve enjoyed watching and interacting with this curious little rodent. Interestingly they don’t hibernate, instead they fall into a deep sleep where they can wake up and have a nibble at their stores from time to time.

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Jasper National Park, Ultimate canadian road trip, least chipmunk

 

 

 

Return to our ‘100 Day Ultimate Canadian Road Trip‘ guide.

 

 

 

 

Written by

Prue Sinclair is a twenty-eight year old Aussie who for the past seven years has been exploring the furthermost reaches of the World. Living anywhere but her homeland, she now resides somewhere in the UK where she writes about the adventures of her Ultimate British Road Trip. Her message is simple: You can get anywhere on any budget, you just need to think outside the box. You can trust she’s finding her way to somewhere lesser-known and writing a ‘How To’ guide.

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