Ground Squirrel

Robert Jenner

Naracoorte, Australia

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Artist's Description

The ground squirrels are the members of the Sciuridae most closely related to the genus Marmota. They make up the tribe Marmotini in the large and mainly terrestrial squirrel subfamily Xerinae, and containing six living genera. Well-known members of this largely Holarctic group are the marmots (Marmota), the susliks (Spermophilus), and the prairie dogs (Cynomys). They are highly variable in size and habitus, but most are remarkably able to rise up on their hind legs and stand fully erect comfortably for prolonged periods. They also tend to be far more gregarious than other squirrels and many live in colonies with complex social structure. Most Marmotini are rather short-tailed and large squirrels, and the Alpine Marmot (Marmota marmota) is the largest living member of the Sciuridae, at 53–73 cm (29 in) in length and weighing 5–8 kg (18 lb).

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white black ground squirrels

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