World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Red-cheeked ground squirrel

Article Id: WHEBN0012529138
Reproduction Date:

Title: Red-cheeked ground squirrel  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Spermophilus, Sciurotamias, Taurus ground squirrel, Baja California rock squirrel, Alashan ground squirrel
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Red-cheeked ground squirrel

Red-cheeked ground squirrel
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Spermophilus
Species: S. erythrogenys
Binomial name
Spermophilus erythrogenys
Brandt, 1841

The red-cheeked ground squirrel (Spermophilus erythrogenys) is a species of rodent in the Sciuridae family. It is commonly referred to as the red-cheeked ground souslik and there are several recognized subspecies.[2] It is found in central Asia. Spermophilus brunnescens (Belyaev, 1943), Spermophilus heptneri (Vasil’eva, 1964) and Spermophilus ungae (Martino, 1923) are accepted as synonyms. There is some controversy over whether Spermophilus pallidicauda and Spermophilus brevicauda should be regarded as synonyms or full species.[3]


The red-cheeked ground squirrel has a stout, low-slung body supported by short legs and a well-furred tail measuring about a third the length of the body. It has internal cheek pouches for carrying food.[4] The head, neck and body are varying shades of grayish brown and there is a reddish-ochre patch on the bridge of the nose.[2]


The red-cheeked ground squirrel is distributed across the territory of the former Soviet Union, in Kazakhstan, Altai and Western Siberia, Mongolia and China (Xinjiang province). It inhabits steppes, forest-steppes, deserts and semi-deserts, favouring pastures, fallow lands, road sides and uncultivated land. In mountainous regions the species is found up to 2,100 metres above sea level.[2]


Behaviour and daily activity varies greatly across the distribution range. Hibernation occurs in some areas and aestivation in others. This species is diurnal and feeds on the green parts of plants, seeds and roots. The burrows have permanent vertical entrances and temporary slanting ones. They are up to 2.8 metres in depth with the underground tunnels totaling up to 4.75 metres. 100 holes and 15-20 individuals have been recorded on 1 hectare. Reproduction rates vary depending on the weather conditions and are reduced during a prolonged cold spring. There are 2 to 12 young in a litter,[2] typically 7 to 9.[5] These ground squirrels are abundant and considered to be pests in parts of their range. They are hunted for meat and skins for local trade but their population is stable and adjudged to be of least concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.[5]


  1. ^ Shar, S. & Lkhagvasuren, D. (2008). Spermophilus erythrogenys. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 8 January 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d
  3. ^ Mammal Species of the World.
  4. ^ ARKive.
  5. ^ a b IUCN Red List
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.