White-Tailed Antelope Squirrel

White-Tailed Antelope Squirrel

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
SPECIES
Ammospermophilus leucurus
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
5.10 yrs
WEIGHT
96-117 g
LENGTH
188-239 mm

The White-tailed antelope squirrel is a species of ground squirrel. They have a brown to gray fur with two white stripes running from the shoulder to the hind end. Their bellies and the underside of their tails are white in color and there is a black stripe on the tail.

Distibution

White-tailed antelope squirrels are found in the southwestern United States and the Baja California Peninsula of northwestern Mexico. Their range extends north to south from southwestern Oregon to New Mexico, and east to west from western Colorado to Baja California, Mexico. These animals inhabit desert habitats from valley floors to the juniper belt. They live in shrubby areas with sandy or rocky soil.

White-Tailed Antelope Squirrel habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

White-tailed antelope squirrels are diurnal creatures. They are active most during the cooler parts of the daylight hours, avoiding midday as much as possible. These small rodents forage on the ground, in trees or shrubs. During foraging they stop for a break in the shade to avoid heat from the sun. They also often lay flat in the burrow with their stomach against the cooler ground to cool off. These squirrels are solitary and live alone in burrows, which they creat themselves or use from other rodents. Females live with their young. In the winter, however, several squirrels may live together in one burrow warming together at night.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

White-tailed antelope squirrels are omnivorous. They feed primarily on foliage, seeds, arthropods, and vertebrates (mainly lizards and rodents).

Mating Habits

REPRODUCTION SEASON
February-June
PREGNANCY DURATION
30-35 days
BABY CARRYING
5-14 pups
FEMALE NAME
doe
MALE NAME
buck
BABY NAME
pup, kit, kitten

Little is known about the mating habits of White-tailed antelope squirrels. The breeding season for these animals takes place in February-June. Females give birth to one litter per year with 5-14 babies. The gestation period lasts around 30-35 days. The mother will create a nest for babies in the center of the burrow. These nests are made from dry plant materials and animal fur. Young are born blind and weigh around 3-4 g. They become ready to emerge from the burrow 1-2 weeks before weaning, at approximately 2 months of age. It will take the squirrels only one year to become reproductively mature and begin reproducing.

Population

Population threats

There are no major threats known to White-tailed antelope squirrels at present. However, on the two islands in the Gulf of California, they may suffer from human activities and predation from feral cats.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the White-tailed antelope squirrel total population size, but this animal is common and widespread throughout its known range. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

Ecological niche

White-tailed antelope squirrels store seeds in their food caches and thus act as seeds dispersers in their habitat range.

References

1. White-Tailed Antelope Squirrel on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-tailed_antelope_squirrel
2. White-Tailed Antelope Squirrel on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/42452/115189458

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