Antelope ground squirrel

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Antelope ground squirrel (Rodentia: Sciuridae: Ammospermophilus sp.) photographed 02/08/2014 at Petroglyph National Monument near Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Antelope ground squirrels (Rodentia: Sciuridae: Ammospermophilus spp.) are common inhabitants of the deserts of the southwest United States and northern Mexico. They can often be found in the relative safety of rocky landscapes where cover from predators is never far away.

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Antelope ground squirrel (Rodentia: Sciuridae: Ammospermophilus sp.) photographed 02/08/2014 at Petroglyph National Monument near Albuquerque, New Mexico.

These small rodents are active throughout the year, and spend their days hunting for seeds, berries, plants, insects and other arthropods to eat. Capable of surviving body temperatures of up to 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 C) these animals are out and about even in the most brutal summer sun. They breed in late winter and spring, and females can give birth to over a dozen offspring at a time.

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Antelope ground squirrel (Rodentia: Sciuridae: Ammospermophilus sp.) photographed 02/08/2014 at Petroglyph National Monument near Albuquerque, New Mexico.

My wife and I found a lot of these squirrels scurrying around the dark lava rocks at Petroglyph National Monument near Albuquerque, New Mexico in February. They were elusive and camera-shy among the basalt boulders, making identification to the species level difficult. Although there are five species of antelope squirrels in the United States, only two can be found in the Albuquerque area. Based on that information, these individuals were either white-tailed antelope squirrels (A. leucurus) or Texas antelope squirrels (A. interpres). I lean towards the former since the white-tails are the most common and widespread species.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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