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Arctic Ground Squirrel Spermophilus parryii


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Arctic Ground Squirrel
credit: IanarÈ SÈvi/CCSA

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Family: Sciuridae, Squirrels view all from this family

Description Unique with reddish-brown back that is flecked with whitish spots. Spring-summer pelage is reddish-brown while fall-winter fur is grayish, with a cinnamon-brown head color. Males are larger. Both sexes get much heavier just before hibernation.

Dimensions 330-490mm, 80-150mm, 530-816g

Habitat Alpine & subalpine habitats, Lakes, ponds, rivers & streams, Beaches, shorelines & estuaries, Meadows & fields

Range Western Canada, Alaska

Discussion Northernmost ground squirrel, it hibernates for seven winter months. Feed on leaves, seeds, and berries as well as carrion and insects. Burrows are limited to areas where permafrost is below 1m, allowing for deep tunnels. Alarm calls include a shrill whistle or sharp “cheek-chick” call. Found in tundra and mountain meadows above the timberline.