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Urocitellus parryii (Spermophilus parryii)

Arctic Ground Squirrel

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae

Image of Urocitellus parryii (Spermophilus parryii)
Urocitellus parryi - early summer coloration on left, late summer in center
Click to enlarge. (102 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Arctic Ground Squirrels must cope with a harsh environment that offers long, cold winters, strong winds, a short growing season, permafrost, poor drainage, and limited cover. The squirrels are, by necessity, dormant for seven months each year. Newborns must grow to adult size over the short Arctic spring and summer. By six weeks of age, they are ready to emerge from the underground nest. They reach 80 percent of their adult weight within a month of emergence, and by the middle of September attain prehibernation weights of 600-700 g. Like other ground squirrels, Arctic Ground Squirrels feed on a variety of plants, berries, seeds, and leaves, insects, and carrion.

Also known as:
Barrow Ground Squirrel, Sik-sik, Sik-rik

Sexual Dimorphism:
Males are slightly larger than females.

Range: 332-495 mm

Range: 530-816 g


Richardson, J., 1825.  In Parry, Voy. discovery Northwest Passage, Vol. 6- app. second voy., p. 316.


Mammal Species of the World

Distribution of Urocitellus parryii (Spermophilus parryii)

Image of Urocitellus parryii (Spermophilus parryii)
Click to enlarge. (94kb)