The speckled ground squirrel or spotted souslik (Spermophilus suslicus ) is a species of rodent in the family Sciuridae from Eastern Europe. Spermophilus suslicus consists of three subspecies: S. s. boristhenicus, S. s. guttatus, and S. s. suslicus. It is threatened by habitat loss.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example, foliage, for the main component of its die...
Seed predation, often referred to as granivory, is a type of plant-animal interaction in which granivores (seed predators) feed on the seeds of pla...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
A burrow is a hole or tunnel excavated into the ground by an animal to create a space suitable for habitation, temporary refuge, or as a byproduct ...
A fossorial animal is one adapted to digging which lives primarily but not solely, underground. Some examples are badgers, naked mole-rats, clams, ...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
Colonial animals live in large aggregations composed of two or more conspecific individuals in close association with or connected to, one another....
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
Hibernation is a state of minimal activity and metabolic depression undergone by some animal species. Hibernation is a seasonal heterothermy charac...
Speckled ground squirrels are are a small ground dwelling rodents. They have dark-brown fur with white spots on their back and a short, thin tail. They are smaller and less social than other ground squirrels in their genus.
Speckled ground squirrels are native to eastern Europe. They are found in Belarus, Moldova, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine. Their natural habitat is temperate grassland and they can also be found on cultivated ground.
Speckled ground squirrels are diurnal creatures which hibernate from October to April. They are active in the morning once the sun warms the area slightly and then come back to their underground den during the heat of the day. Late in the day they come out again for another feeding bout. These ground squirrels live in separate burrows within a larger colony. These colonies can be up to over 160 individuals per ha. When outside their burrows these small animals spend a most of their time standing on their hind legs scanning the surroundings in search of predators. They use alarm calls for a variety of purposes. Primarily, the alarm call is used to warn conspecific squirrels of predators and to alert predators that they've been detected.
Speckled ground squirrels are polygynous which means that males mate with multiple females during the breeding season. They breed between April and May. The gestation period lasts around 23-26 days after which four to eight babies are born. Young usually spend one month in the burrow until they are ready to emerge. Both males and females reach reproductive maturity at 1 year of age.
Speckled ground squirrels are threatened by the loss and fragmentation of their habitat. Causes of habitat loss include the expansion of agriculture and forestry, the reduction of pasturing, the development and growth of cities, and industrial development. Also, in some areas these animals are hunted as agricultural pests.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Speckled ground squirrel is unknown. However, there is an estimated population of the species in Poland having around 20,000 individuals. Currently, the Speckled ground squirrel is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.
Due to their habit of digging burrows, Speckled ground squirrels help to aerate the soil and also create shelter for other animals.