ground squirrel

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ground squirrel,

name applied to certain terrestrial rodents of the squirrelsquirrel,
name for small or medium-sized rodents of the family Sciuridae, found throughout the world except in Australia, Madagascar, and the polar regions; it is applied especially to the tree-living species.
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 family. In North America the name refers to members of the genus Citellus and sometimes to the closely related genera Tamias (chipmunkchipmunk,
rodent of the family Sciuridae (squirrel family). The chipmunk of the E United States and SE Canada is of the genus Tamias. The body of the common Eastern chipmunk, Tamias striatus, is about 5 to 6 in.
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), Cynomys (prairie dogprairie dog,
short-tailed, ground-living rodent, genus Cynomys, of the squirrel family, closely related to the ground squirrels, chipmunks, and marmots. There are several species, found in the W United States and N Mexico.
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), and Marmota (marmotmarmot,
ground-living rodent of the genus Marmota, of the squirrel family, closely related to the ground squirrel, prairie dog, and chipmunk. Marmots are found in Eurasia and North America; the best-known North American marmot is the woodchuck, M.
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 and woodchuckwoodchuck
or groundhog,
common name of a North American species of marmot, Marmota monax. This large rodent is found in open woods and ravines throughout most of Canada and the NE United States. Its heavyset body is about 2 ft (60 cm) long, excluding the 6 in.
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). Citellus species are found in Asia, E Europe, and North America. In the Old World they are called sousliks. Other ground squirrel genera are found in Africa and S Asia. The approximately 30 North American species of Citellus are found W of Hudson Bay, from the Arctic Ocean to central Mexico. These ground squirrels have rounded heads, short ears and legs, and shorter, less bushy tails than tree squirrels. Their combined head and body length is 4 1-2 to 13 1-2 in. (11.4–33 cm) depending on the species; the tail is usually a third to two thirds as long. Most are gregarious, living in extensive underground burrows; they hibernate in colder parts of their range. Members of different species are found in prairie grasslands, arctic tundra, mountain meadows, open forest, desert, and scrub country. In some regions the ground squirrel is called gophergopher
or pocket gopher,
name for the burrowing rodents of the family Geomyidae, found in North America and Central America. The gopher is gray, buff, or dark brown. Its combined head and body length is 5 to 12 in.
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, a name more commonly applied to burrowing rodents of a different family. Primarily vegetarian in their diet, ground squirrels may become agricultural pests, but they destroy insects and mice as well as crops. Their tunnels cause landslides and erosion, but also serve to mix and aerate the soil. Ground squirrels are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Rodentia, family Sciuridae.


See J. O. Murie and G. R. Michener, ed., The Biology of Ground-Dwelling Squirrels (1984).

References in periodicals archive ?
Our work demonstrates that space (habitat) and time interact to influence ground squirrel demography.
Earlier this month, VCWPA presented data from its Raptor Study for Levee Protection on using hawks and owls to control rodents, showing that raptor-friendly habitats reduce ground squirrel burrowing damage by 50 percent when compared to using anticoagulant rodenticides.
From our survey, the currently known geographical distribution of the Valle de la Trinidad round-tailed ground squirrel is restricted to Valle de San Matias.
He also hopes it will prompt others to look to natural models, as he and Hallenbeck did with the ground squirrel.
The purpose of their research was threefold: to determine how much lead from spent ammunition remained in the carcasses of the ground squirrels after they had been shot by hunters; to measure lead levels in the bodies of birds that had eaten shot ground squirrels versus those that had captured live prey; and to look at how the presence of large numbers of ground squirrel carcasses affected raptor hunting and scavenging behavior.
At Crane Flat Campground (Table 1; Figure 1), visual assessment and subsequent burrow swabbing suggested recent epizootic activity; California ground squirrel abundance seemed to be very low relative to the number of burrows in the campground, abandoned burrows were noted, and 134 Y.
Coccidian parasites (Eucoccidia: Eimeriidae) in European ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus L.
Additionally, during the mating season, adult thirteen-lined ground squirrels are only slightly dimorphic for size (a modest difference relative to other ground squirrel species, see species above), and the sexes are similar in size during the rest of the active season (Freeman, 2009).
Herbivorous prairie dog mothers routinely kill baby ground squirrels that encroach on their territories, researchers found.
Squirrels can be divided into three main groups: tree squirrels, flying squirrels and ground squirrels.
For almost three decades (1973-99), ground squirrel populations in the boreal forests of the Kluane region (SW Yukon) cycled in a predictable manner (Werner et al.
On 24 May 2014, I observed a Bald Eagle in adult plumage killing and eating an Arctic Ground Squirrel at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve (60.