I have a great appreciation for squirrels and love when I come across different squirrel species when I travel.
At home, in Toronto, we have eastern grey tree squirrels. SO ground squirrels I find extra interesting as they do not exist near Toronto.
This cute guy is an Arctic Ground Squirrel. I watched him scurry around his various hiding holes in Denali national Park, Alaska. These squirrels are, not surprisingly, found further north than any other ground squirrel species in North America. they also happen to be the largest ground squirrel species in North America.
Hibernating for as much as 8 months in a year, these guys actually achieve the lowest body temperature of any mammal in the world. They mange to “supercool” their bodies – below freezing! It may sound impossible, but that is how they survive the winter.
These Arctic ground squirrels eat mostly leaves, seeds and fruits but are opportunistic and will even eat meat if the opportunity arises. As cute as these guys are, they’re also a prime food source for a wide range of Arctic animals like grizzly bears, eagles and foxes.