Long-Clawed Ground Squirrel


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Long-Clawed Ground Squirrel

 

(Spermophilopsis leptodactylus), the only representative of a genus of rodents of the family Sciuridae. The body measures as much as 30 cm in length, and the tail, as much as 10 cm. The coloring of the upper parts is sandy yellow, and the tail is black beneath, with a white fringe. The claws are very long, especially on the digits of the anterior extremities. The summer pelage is short and bristly, and the winter pelage is long and soft.

The long-clawed ground squirrel lives in sandy deserts of Middle Asia and Kazakhstan. Active in the daytime the year round, it feeds on underground and aboveground parts of plants, as well as insects. Once (sometimes twice) a year, the female gives birth to three to seven offspring. The fur is not of the finest quality. The animal is a natural carrier of the causative agents of plague and other diseases.

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