Arctic Ground Squirrel of Denali National Park

Arctic Ground Squirrel

Arctic ground squirrels are the only ground squirrel species in Alaska.  They are also the largest ground squirrel in North America.  You can learn more about the various animals of Denali National Park from our Animals Page.

Their Appearance

The arctic ground squirrel is the largest ground squirrel in North America.  They can grow to a length of 20 inches and weigh over three pounds.  Their fur is a tawny brown with white flecks in color.  Their undersides are much lighter in color, often being a light tan or beige.

Where to Find Them

Arctic ground squirrels prefer to stay in areas that have loose soil such as tundras, meadows, riverbanks, and lakeshores.  Surprisingly, they are also commonly seen along the  banks of man-made roads.  This is because the ground is loosenedduring road construction.  This gives them a perfect spot to develop their burrows.  In addition to creating burrows, they also prefer areas of loose soil because these areas provide them with early vegetation for food.  They are only available to see during the summer months as they are hibernating during the winter.  During their hibernation their body temperatures will decrease to below freezing and their brains stay just above this freezing temperature.

 

Video and Sound Recording

Below is a video of an arctic ground squirrel as well as a sound clip of how they sound in the wild.

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