Apr 19, 2012

Golden-Mantled Squirrel (Spermophilus lateralis)

Did you know?

That during autumn, the golden-mantled squirrel has a layer of fat that helps them stay warm during the winter hibernation? It also carries food in its well-developed cheek to his lair to be stored and presumably eat in the spring when it wakes up.

The golden-mantled squirrel looks like a squirrel, but is larger and the lines of its face are missing. It has a streaked cream and black colored body, but has no scratches on the head and tail. The remaining skin is gray; its shoulders and face are coppery-red. The queue length is 6 to 12 cm and total length is 25 to 30 cm. It weighs 175-275 grams. 

The golden-mantled squirrels hibernates from October to May (date varies by latitude), but some individuals are awaken periodically to feed. The golden-mantled squirrel has a varied diet, consisting mainly of seeds, nuts and fruits, which are complemented by green vegetation and insects, as well as large amounts of underground fungi, which they locate by smelling and digging. 

The golden-mantled squirrel digs nests at 30 meters long. The openings are usually under or near a log, or tree roots or rock. After a gestation period of 26-33 days, the female gives birth in early summer with 4-6 young per year.

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