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Citellus citellus

The European ground squirrel
European ground squirrel
( Spermophilus
Spermophilus
citellus), also known as the European souslik, is a species from the squirrel family, Sciuridae.[2] It and the speckled ground squirrel (Spermophilus suslicus) are the only European representatives of the genus Spermophilus. Like all squirrels, it is a member of the rodent order. It is to be found throughout eastern Europe from southern Ukraine, to Asia Minor, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and north as far as Poland
Poland
but the range is divided in two parts by the Carpathian Mountains. The European ground squirrel
European ground squirrel
grows to a length of approximately 20 cm (8 in) and a weight of approximately 300 grams (11 oz). It is a diurnal animal, living in colonies of individual burrows in pastures or grassy embankments. The squirrels emerge during the day to feed upon seeds, plant shoots and roots or flightless invertebrates. The colonies maintain sentinels who whistle at the sight of a predator, bringing the pack scurrying back to safety. Breeding takes place in early summer when a single litter of five to eight young is borne. The European ground squirrel
European ground squirrel
hibernates between autumn and March, the length of time depending on the climate. In preparation they will build up reserves of brown fat during the late summer.

Contents

1 Description 2 Distribution and habitat 3 Behaviour 4 Breeding 5 Status 6 References

Description[edit] The European ground squirrel
European ground squirrel
is about the size of a brown rat, with an adult measuring 20 to 23 cm (8 to 9 in) and a weight of 240 to 340 g (8.5 to 12.0 oz). It has a slender build with a short bushy tail. The short dense fur is yellowish-grey, tinged with red, with a few indistinct pale and dark spots on the back. The underside is pale with a sandy-coloured abdomen. The large dark eyes are placed high on the head and the small, rounded ears are hidden in the fur. The dental formula is 1/1, 0/0, 2/1, 3/3. The legs are powerful with sharp claws well adapted for digging. Males are slightly larger than females otherwise they look alike.[3][4] The European ground squirrel
European ground squirrel
has a shrill alarm call that will cause all other individuals in the vicinity to dive for cover. It also makes various soft chirruping and growling noises.[3] The European ground squirrel
European ground squirrel
could be confused with the speckled ground squirrel which occurs in Poland
Poland
(Lublin Voivodeship), Romania, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, but that species has dark brown fur spotted with white and a thin tail and lives in areas with coarser vegetation.[5] Distribution and habitat[edit] The European ground squirrel
European ground squirrel
is endemic to central and southeastern Europe where its range is divided by the Carpathian Mountains. Its range includes land at altitudes of up to 800 metres (2,600 ft) in southern Ukraine, Asia Minor, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and north as far as Poland. It has become locally extinct in Germany and Poland
Poland
but was reintroduced successfully into the wild in Poland
Poland
in 2005. Some of the animals were sourced from the Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport.[6] The European ground squirrel
European ground squirrel
has very specific habitat requirements. It needs short turf in order to dig its tunnel system. It finds this on the steppes and in pasture, in dry banks, on sports fields, parks and lawns. These conditions are lost when changes in agricultural practice convert grassland into arable land and forest, or grazing ceases and the grass grows coarse and scrubland develops.[1] Other places with short vegetation that sometimes provides suitable habitat are railway embankments and road cuttings and verges.[3] Behaviour[edit]

Play media

European ground squirrel
European ground squirrel
whistling

European ground squirrel
European ground squirrel
eating the seeds of the denseflower mullein

The European ground squirrel
European ground squirrel
is a colonial animal and is mainly diurnal. It excavates a branching system of tunnels up to 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) deep with several entrances. At other places in the home range it digs unbranched bolt holes in which to hide if danger threatens. If alarmed it emits a piercing whistle and when it is out in the open it often sits upright and looks around for predators. These include the weasel, fox, domestic cat and some species of birds of prey. It feeds on grasses, other plants, flowers, seeds, cultivated crops, insects and occasionally the eggs of ground nesting birds or their chicks.[3] A study in Bulgaria
Bulgaria
found that the squirrel spent about eleven hours a day outside its burrow in mid-summer but by early autumn this has reduced to seven hours. Rather over half of the day was spent foraging but other activities observed included exploration, running, sitting, grooming, digging, scent marking and vigilance.[7] During the winter it stops up the entrances to its burrow and hibernates in a nest of dry vegetation. Each individual occupies a separate chamber and during this period, the body temperature drops to 2.0 °C (36 °F), and the heart rate slows to a few beats per minute. During hibernation, the squirrel may wake up briefly for a few days and uses up the fat reserves accumulated during the summer, consuming about 90% of the fat stored in the body.[8] In Bulgaria
Bulgaria
hibernation lasts from September to March.[7] Breeding[edit] After emerging from hibernation in the spring, mating takes place during April or May. The gestation period is about twenty six days and five to eight young are born in a chamber deep in the burrow. They are naked and blind and their eyes open at about 4 weeks old. The female feeds them for six weeks and soon after that they are ready to leave the burrow. They reach maturity the following spring and may live for eight to ten years.[3] Status[edit] The European ground squirrel
European ground squirrel
is listed as being "Vulnerable" by the IUCN
IUCN
in its Red List of Threatened Species. This is because the population trend is downward and it is believed that, over the last ten years, the population has diminished by more than 30%. The southern and the northwestern and northern parts of the range are most seriously affected. The main threats are the conversion of grassland and pasture to cultivated fields or to forestry, and the abandonment of grassland and its reversion to unsuitable tall grass meadows and bushy habitats that do not suit the animal. Urbanization and road building have sometimes fragmented communities and prevented recolonisation of empty sites.[1] References[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Spermophilus
Spermophilus
citellus.

^ a b c Coroiu, C.; Kryštufek, B.; Vohralík, V. & Zagorodnyuk, I. (2008). " Spermophilus
Spermophilus
citellus". The IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List
of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2008: e.T20472A9204055. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T20472A9204055.en. Retrieved 27 December 2017.  ^ Thorington, R.W., Jr.; Hoffman, R.S. (2005). "Family Sciuridae". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal
Mammal
Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 805. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.  ^ a b c d e Konig, Claus (1973). Mammals. Collins & Co. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-00-212080-7.  ^ Domińska, Rozmawiała Agata (2010-08-27). "Susły po 30 latach wracają na dolnośląskie łąki" (in Polish). Gazetapl Wroclow. Retrieved 2013-09-20.  ^ Zagorodnyuk, I.; Glowacinski, Z. & Gondek, A. (2008). " Spermophilus
Spermophilus
suslicus". The IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List
of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2008: e.T20492A9208074. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T20492A9208074.en. Retrieved 27 December 2017.  ^ "Wakacje z sympatycznymi polskimi susłami" (in Polish). Dziennik Polski. 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2013-09-20.  ^ a b Koshev, Yordan S.; Kocheva, Maria A. (2008). "Daily Activity Pattern in Free-living European Ground Squirrels Spermophilus
Spermophilus
citellus (Mammalia: Rodentia) from Northwestern Bulgaria" (PDF). Acta Zoologica Bulgarica. 2: 149–154.  ^ "O suśle" (in Polish). Salamandra. Retrieved 2013-09-20. 

v t e

Living species of tribe Marmotini (ground squirrels)

Kingdom: Animalia  Phylum: Chordata  Class: Mammalia  Order: Rodentia  Suborder: Sciuromorpha  Family: Sciuridae  Subfamily: Xerinae

Ammospermophilus (antelope squirrels)

Harris's antelope squirrel
Harris's antelope squirrel
(A. harrisii)  Espíritu Santo antelope squirrel (A. insularis)  Texas antelope squirrel
Texas antelope squirrel
(A. interpres)  White-tailed antelope squirrel
White-tailed antelope squirrel
(A. leucurus)  San Joaquin antelope squirrel
San Joaquin antelope squirrel
(A. nelsoni)

Callospermophilus (golden-mantled ground squirrels)

Golden-mantled ground squirrel
Golden-mantled ground squirrel
(C. lateralis)  Sierra Madre ground squirrel
Sierra Madre ground squirrel
(C. madrensis)  Cascade golden-mantled ground squirrel
Cascade golden-mantled ground squirrel
(C. saturatus)

Cynomys (prairie dogs)

Gunnison's prairie dog
Gunnison's prairie dog
(C. gunnisoni)  White-tailed prairie dog
White-tailed prairie dog
(C. leucurus)  Black-tailed prairie dog
Black-tailed prairie dog
(C. ludovicianus)  Mexican prairie dog
Mexican prairie dog
(C. mexicanus)  Utah prairie dog
Utah prairie dog
(C. parvidens)

Eutamias

Siberian chipmunk
Siberian chipmunk
(E. sibiricus)

Ictidomys (little ground squirrels)

Mexican ground squirrel
Mexican ground squirrel
(I. mexicanus)  I. parvidens  Thirteen-lined ground squirrel
Thirteen-lined ground squirrel
(I. tridecemlineatus)

Marmota (marmots)

Subgenus Marmota: Gray marmot
Gray marmot
(M. baibacina) 

Bobak marmot
Bobak marmot
(M. bobak)  Alaska marmot
Alaska marmot
(M. broweri)  Black-capped marmot
Black-capped marmot
(M. camtschatica)  Long-tailed marmot
Long-tailed marmot
(M. caudata)  Himalayan marmot
Himalayan marmot
(M. himalayana)  Alpine marmot
Alpine marmot
(M. marmota)  Menzbier's marmot
Menzbier's marmot
(M. menzbieri)  Groundhog
Groundhog
or woodchuck (M. monax)  Tarbagan marmot
Tarbagan marmot
(M. sibirica) Subgenus Petromarmota: Hoary marmot
Hoary marmot
(M. caligata)  Yellow-bellied marmot
Yellow-bellied marmot
(M. flaviventris)  Olympic marmot
Olympic marmot
(M. olympus)  Vancouver Island marmot
Vancouver Island marmot
(M. vancouverensis)

Neotamias (western chipmunks)

Alpine chipmunk
Alpine chipmunk
(N. alpinus)  Yellow-pine chipmunk
Yellow-pine chipmunk
(N. amoenus)  Buller's chipmunk
Buller's chipmunk
(N. bulleri)  Gray-footed chipmunk
Gray-footed chipmunk
(N. canipes)  Gray-collared chipmunk
Gray-collared chipmunk
(N. cinereicollis)  Cliff chipmunk
Cliff chipmunk
(N. dorsalis)  Durango chipmunk
Durango chipmunk
(N. durangae)  Merriam's chipmunk
Merriam's chipmunk
(N. merriami)  Least chipmunk
Least chipmunk
(N. minimus)  California chipmunk
California chipmunk
(N. obscurus)  Yellow-cheeked chipmunk
Yellow-cheeked chipmunk
(N. ochrogenys)  Palmer's chipmunk
Palmer's chipmunk
(N. palmeri)  Panamint chipmunk
Panamint chipmunk
(N. panamintinus)  Long-eared chipmunk
Long-eared chipmunk
(N. quadrimaculatus)  Colorado chipmunk
Colorado chipmunk
(N. quadrivittatus)  Red-tailed chipmunk
Red-tailed chipmunk
(N. ruficaudus)  Hopi chipmunk
Hopi chipmunk
(N. rufus)  Allen's chipmunk
Allen's chipmunk
(N. senex)  Siskiyou chipmunk
Siskiyou chipmunk
(N. siskiyou)  Sonoma chipmunk
Sonoma chipmunk
(N. sonomae)  Lodgepole chipmunk
Lodgepole chipmunk
(N. speciosus)  Townsend's chipmunk
Townsend's chipmunk
(N. townsendii)  Uinta chipmunk
Uinta chipmunk
(N. umbrinus)

Notocitellus

Tropical ground squirrel
Tropical ground squirrel
(N. adocetus)  Ring-tailed ground squirrel
Ring-tailed ground squirrel
(N. annulatus)

Otospermophilus (rock squirrels)

Baja California rock squirrel
Baja California rock squirrel
(O. atricapillus)  California ground squirrel
California ground squirrel
(O. beecheyi)  Rock squirrel
Rock squirrel
(O. variegatus)

Poliocitellus

Franklin's ground squirrel
Franklin's ground squirrel
(P. franklinii)

Sciurotamias (Asian rock squirrels)

Père David's rock squirrel
Père David's rock squirrel
(S. davidianus)  Forrest's rock squirrel
Forrest's rock squirrel
(S. forresti)

Spermophilus
Spermophilus
sensu stricto (Old World ground squirrels)

Alashan ground squirrel
Alashan ground squirrel
(S. alashanicus)  S. brevicauda  European ground squirrel
European ground squirrel
(S. citellus)  Daurian ground squirrel
Daurian ground squirrel
(S. dauricus)  Red-cheeked ground squirrel
Red-cheeked ground squirrel
(S. erythrogenys)  Yellow ground squirrel
Yellow ground squirrel
(S. fulvus)  Russet ground squirrel
Russet ground squirrel
(S. major)  S. pallicauda  Little ground squirrel
Little ground squirrel
(S. pygmaeus)  S. ralli  S. relictus  Speckled ground squirrel
Speckled ground squirrel
( Spermophilus
Spermophilus
suslicus)  Taurus ground squirrel ( Spermophilus
Spermophilus
taurensis)  Asia Minor
Asia Minor
ground squirrel ( Spermophilus
Spermophilus
xanthoprymnus)

Tamias

Eastern chipmunk
Eastern chipmunk
(T. striatus)

Urocitellus (Holarctic ground squirrels)

Uinta ground squirrel
Uinta ground squirrel
(U. armatus)  Belding's ground squirrel
Belding's ground squirrel
(U. beldingi)  Northern Idaho ground squirrel
Northern Idaho ground squirrel
(U. brunneus)  Southern Idaho ground squirrel
Southern Idaho ground squirrel
(U. endemicus)  Merriam's ground squirrel
Merriam's ground squirrel
(U. canus)  Columbian ground squirrel
Columbian ground squirrel
(U. columbianus)  Wyoming ground squirrel
Wyoming ground squirrel
(U. elegans)  Piute ground squirrel
Piute ground squirrel
(U. mollis)  Arctic ground squirrel
Arctic ground squirrel
(U. parryii)  Richardson's ground squirrel
Richardson's ground squirrel
(U. richardsonii)  Townsend's ground squirrel
Townsend's ground squirrel
(U. townsendii)  Washington ground squirrel
Washington ground squirrel
(U. washingtoni)  Long-tailed ground squirrel
Long-tailed ground squirrel
(U. undulatus)

Xerospermophilus (pygmy ground squirrels)

Mohave ground squirrel
Mohave ground squirrel
(X. mohavensis)  Perote ground squirrel
Perote ground squirrel
(X. perotensis)  Spotted ground squirrel
Spotted ground squirrel
(X. spilosoma)  Round-tailed ground squirrel
Round-tailed ground squirrel
(X. tereticaudus)

Category

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q623466 ARKive: spermophilus-citellus EoL: 1041051 Fauna Europaea: 305739 GBIF: 2437304 iNaturalist: 46037 ITIS: 632446 IUCN: 20472 MSW: 1240101

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