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The diurnal Arctic ground squirrel lives on the tundra and is prey to the Arctic Fox, the Red Fox, wolverine, lynx, the Grizzly Bear, and eagles. It is one of the few Arctic animals, along with their close relatives the marmots and the un-related little brown bat that hibernate. In the summer it forages for tundra plants, seeds, and fruit to increase body fat for its winter hibernation. By late summer the male arctic ground squirrel begins to store food in its burrow so that in the spring it will have edible food until the new vegetation has grown. The burrows are lined with lichens, leaves, and muskox hair. During hibernation, its brain drops to just above freezing, its core body temperature reaches temperatures down to -2.9°C and its heart rate drops to ~1BPM. Peripheral, colonic, and blood temperatures become subzero by means of supercooling.
The Arctic ground squirrel can be found in regions of Northern Canada ranging from the Arctic Circle to northern British Columbia, and down to the southern border of the Northwest Territories, as well as Alaska and Siberia. The Arctic ground squirrel inhabits dry Arctic tundra and open meadows in the most southern habitats of this species.
At Toklat government housing area. Male and female cuddling, and male turning at me to bark for intruding.
Spotted on May 8, 2009
Submitted on Jul 7, 2013
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