Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Arctic Ground Squirrel

The Arctic ground squirrel is found in Northern Canada, from the Arctic Circle down to Northern British Columbia and Southern Northwest Territories, and Alaska. 
Arctic ground squirrel in Denali NP.
It has a beige and tan coat with a white-spotted back, a dark tail, and white around the eyes. In the summer it has a red to yellow coloration along the cheeks and sides, then in fall those areas change in coloration to silver. 
Arctic ground squirrels near Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

They hibernate from early August, for females, or late September, for males, to April. During hibernation its core temperature drops from about 99 degrees F to 27 degrees F, its blood temperature is sub-zero and it heart rate is about 1 beat per minute. 
It is an important source of food for animals such as the grizzly bear, wolverine, fox, lynx and eagle. We saw lots of them in Denali NP and in the Yukon Wildlife Preserve near Whitehorse, YT. 

1 comment: