Skip to main content
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Rodentia · Sciuridae · Urocitellus parryii (Spermophilus parryii)

Search the Archive
 • Species Name
 • Family Tree
 • Conservaton Status
 • Skulls
 • Bones and Teeth
Field Guide
 • Map Search
   Including search by
     • Location
     • Ecoregion
     • Species
     • National Park
 • About Maps
Teacher Resources
About the Site
Smithsonian Institution
Copyright Notice
Privacy Notice

* PDF reader
available here

(opens in a new window)

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 this image. (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 (opens in a new window).

Distribution of Urocitellus parryii (Spermophilus parryii)

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

end of text