Arctic ground squirrels shelter in shallow burrows on the tundra, usually inhabiting areas where the permafrost does not prevent digging. To survive the harsh arctic winters, they hibernate for seven months of the year, during which time their body temperature can sink below freezing.
Scientific name: Spermophilus parryii
Missing the winter entirely seems a good plan in such cold conditions.
Arctic ground squirrels begin to feed up in the autumn, almost doubling their weight. As winter sets in they retreat to their underground burrows to bypass the winter entirely in hibernation. Unlike many other species which hibernate, Arctic ground squirrels can drop their body to temperature to minus 3 degrees centigrade, they warm up temporarily every few weeks by shivering, possibly to help prevent permanent brain damage.
Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The following habitats are found across the Arctic ground squirrel distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Population trend: Unknown
Year assessed: 2008
Classified by: IUCN 3.1
The Arctic ground squirrel (Urocitellus parryii) is a species of ground squirrel native to the Arctic. People in Alaska, particularly around the Aleutians, refer to them as "Parka" (pronounced "par'kee") squirrels. probably because their pelt is good for making the fur edging on the hoods of Parka style jackets.