I wish I knew all the species of "ground resident" Critters here abouts, But they range from: "Pocket Squirrel”, to the "Prairie Dog". The "Prairie Dog (PG)" is a much larger species and very similar in appearance and stature. Except, the PG is more "town" oriented. I mean they will congregate in a big town and the common gopher will just Live and exist; do we call this “Habitate”.!
So this thing is the picture is a "gopher"? Is it known by any other name? Just curious, because where I'm from (pennsylvania) we call groundhogs "gophers," and there are no prairie dogs or anything similar.
As far as what you call the gopher's living arrangements...perhaps instead of "habitate" they call it "solitary."
Anyhooo....How exactly did you get so close to it?
Ok, I did some research and this is what I found. The animal pictured is called a "Richardson's Ground Squirrel" or more commonly known around here as a gopher. They are basically a pest. The farmers don't like them eating the crops and the ranchers don't care for their burrowing, which makes for hazardous conditions for the cattle.
They are true hibernators and every spring they re-surface with a very curious attitude like "Where am I?". I got very close to several (including this one) by just driving up to them on the side of the road.