t. beth of Firefly Forest has a lovely story and photo of a Rock Squirrel she met up with in Sabino Canyon last year who attacked her camera. Unlike this one, hers was incredibly brazen; it obviously was used to humans and the treats that humans can provide.
Although they look like typical tree squirrels, Rock Squirrels are ground dwellers. They are the largest of the ground squirrels, weighing up to 1.5 lbs. (0.7 kg). Rock Squrrels are found most commonly in rocky outcrops, boulder piles, or canyon walls, but they are very adaptable and make use of suburban lots, tree roots, and many other places. They are omnivores. They feed on seeds, mesquite beans and buds, insects, eggs, birds, carrion, and a variety of fruits, including the fruit of barrel cactus and prickly pear. Rock squirrels forage for food on the ground of their home areas, but can also climb trees very well. They often climb into mesquites, willows, and ocotillos when they are first leafing out, to feed on the tender new growth. They also climb flower stalks of agaves to feed on the tender tips. In addition they hunt and kill small birds and rodents. "When a rock squirrel encounters a snake, it stamps its feet and waves its tail from side to side while facing the snake. It also tries to push sand or dirt in the snake’s face with its front paws." [Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum web site]The next morning we found a little tunnelling in one of our plant beds, and, the morning after that, quite a bit more. Those are the butterfly/ hummingbird/ goldfinch-loving plants I managed to keep alive through a scorching summer. They've been a favourite of the Lesser Goldfinches and Broadtailed Hummingbirds, and I'm not about to give them up. So I guess it's going to be Havahart trapping time unless someone has a better suggestion.