From the Alaska Department of Fish and Game: Arctic ground squirrels are the largest of the North American ground squirrel species, ranging from 524 up to 1,500 grams in weight, and 332 to 495 mm in length. They undergo seasonal changes in body mass and lose weight during hibernation. They exhibit sexual dimorphism, with males being larger than females. Body mass drastically varies seasonally, between summer foraging bouts and winter hibernation. They have tawny brown coloration with white flecks on the dorsal side of the pelage and a light tan or beige coloration on their undersides. Their undersides lighten during winter months. Cylindrical in shape with short, strong forearms and hind legs, the arctic ground squirrel is built for burrowing and digging. They have sharp claws and soft pads on the undersides of the hands which aid them in manipulating food and dirt. Their heads and ears are rounded, and their tails are relatively short compared to other squirrel species.
Mountain slopes, river flats, banks, lakeshores and tundra ridges of the arctic tundra. Ground squirrels live in sandy soil due to easy digging and good drainage.
Another backpacker that saw me with my camera told me not to miss the great shots of the prarie dogs up ahead. Come to find out, there are no actual prarie dogs in Alaska, but these ground squirrels have a similar look.
Lat: 61.09, Long: -149.61
Spotted on May 23, 2017
Submitted on May 24, 2017
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