Monday, October 23, 2017

Eurasian Red Squirrel

On October 6th we took a train into Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. Just outside of Bishkek is the Ala-Too range, an extension of the Tian Shan mountain range, with a peak that reaches 15,928 feet. We took buses 40 km south into Ala Archa National Park which includes the gorge of the Ala-Archa River. It had snowed recently and was gorgeous. 
Beautiful snow covered trees and peaks of Ala Archa National Park. 

I believe this is the Ala-Archa River.
We hiked up the river gorge and on our hike encountered a beautiful and distinctive Eurasian red squirrel, a species of tree squirrel found throughout Eurasia. Its coat varies in color, from black to red, based on time of year and location. However, the underside is always a white-cream color. It sheds its coat twice a year, from a thinner summer coat to a thicker darker winter coat with larger tufted ears (a distinguishing feature), and vice versa.
What sets this squirrel apart are the distinctive ear tufts.

The American eastern gray squirrel, which has been transplanted from North America, is larger, does not have the ear tufts and does not have as red a coat. The squirrel was quite friendly, running around at our feet and then up into a tree. 

1 comment:

  1. Great photos. I never got this good of a look at him. He moved so fast!