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The Ground Squirrel

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The Ground Squirrel

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:55 pm

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Ground squirrel
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Adult

Cub

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General Information;

Type: Mammal
Diet: Herbivore
Size: 53–73 cm
Weight: 5–8 kg
Conservation status: Not applicable
Scientific Classification: Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Mammalia, Order: Rodentia, Family: Sciuridae, Subfamily: Xerinae
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man: Not applicable
Ground Squirrel Range


The ground squirrels are members of the squirrel family of rodents (the Sciuridae) which generally live on or in the ground, rather than trees. The term is most often used for the medium-sized ground squirrels, as the larger ones are more commonly known as marmots (genus Marmota) or prairie dogs, while the smaller and less bushy-tailed ground squirrels tend to be known as chipmunks. The ground squirrel is especially renowned for its tendency to rise up on its hind legs. It does this whenever it senses nearby danger, or when it must see over tall grasses. The squirrel then curls its paws flat against its chest and sends a screeching call to warn other family members about the presence of predators. Ground squirrels may carry fleas that transmit diseases to humans (see Black Plague), and have been destructive in tunneling underneath human habitation.
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Physical Features;
Squirrels are about 7-8 inches long and weigh about 8-14 ounces. This is about as much as a pound of butter weighs. They have four front teeth that they use for cutting or grinding. They eat vegetables and field crops when they are first starting to grow.
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Mental Features;
Ground squirrels are mostly active during the day time. They spend a lot of their time underground in homes called burrows where they sleep, raise their babies, store food, and stay away from danger. When they dig their burrows, they make large hills of dirt and rock that buries grass or small plants. People don't like this because they are ruining plants and putting a pile of dirt where people might trip and hurt themselves. These animals can hurt shrubs, vines, and trees by chewing on them. The hills of dirt make it hard to mow or farm and hurts the machines that try to do it. This does not make the farmers like the squirrels, either. Adult male ground squirrels immerge into hibernation earlier than adult females, whereas juvenile males immerge later than juvenile females. All male ground squirrels emerge from hibernation earlier than females, regardless of age. T
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Diet;
Ground squirrels are predominantly herbivores, with vegetation composing 80-100% of their total diet. The remainder is comprised mostly of insects. ground squirrels do not kill for food, but they sometimes nibble on easy-to-obtain meat such as road kills. Ground squirrels primarily eat leaves, flowers and seeds, though the precise type of vegetation eaten depends on where they live. Because so much of the native prairie has been destroyed by human agricultural practices, it is now difficult to assess the natural and preferred diet. Forage grasses and legumes are major food items on overgrazed pastures in eastern North Dakota. In cultivated areas, where little native vegetation remains, Ground squirrels have no choice other than to eat the seeds and seedlings of domesticated cereals such as wheat, barley and oats.
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Threats towards this animal;
The threats towards this animal excluding wolves are:

Hawks, eagles, badgers, weasels, coyotes, foxes, dogs, and cats.
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Credits (c);

Images:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rachelhenn/7604851104/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/taylar/2910411961/

Information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_squirrel
http://www.exoticnutrition.com/grsqin.html
http://library.thinkquest.org/TQ0312800/squirrel.htm
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