Arctic Ground Squirrel

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Scientific Information

Arctic Ground Squirrel

Arctic Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus parryii) has a beige and tan coat with a white-spotted back. This squirrel has a short face, small ears, a dark tail and white markings around its eyes. The Arctic Ground Squirrel is the only Arctic animal that hibernates. Bears will undergo torpor a kind of deep sleep through which they may be awoken. These squirrels' core temperature must warm up completely before they are able to come out of hibernation. Experiments have shown this process takes about eight hours when brought into room temperature.

In the spring and summer it forages for tundra plants, seeds and fruits to increase body fat for its winter hibernation. By late summer it begins to store food in its burrow so that in the spring it will have edible food until the new vegetation has grown.

Arctic Ground Squirrels are a food source for Grizzly Bears and Arctic Foxes here on the Seward Peninsula.

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Squirrels are a sign of Spring as they emerge from their winter hibernation here in late April to early May. Traditionally their hides were sewn together and used to make parkas. Depending on the size of the parka, it would take 30-40 squirrels hides to complete the body of an adult's parka.after they come home from hunting they skin the shikshrik then they cook it till it get soft next they could use the skin to make horn dolls and jacket.

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