Barbary ground squirrels (Atlantoxerus getulus)

Barbary ground squirrels (Atlantoxerus getulus) are native to northern Africa, with a wide distribution in Morocco and a somewhat smaller distribution in Algeria. In 1965, a pair was introduced to Fuerteventura Island, part of the Canaries archipelago. Upon their introduction, their numbers soared, showing the resiliency of this species.

This rodent is a diminutive one with a length of between 6.3 and 8.7 inches and a bushy tail of equal length. On average, they weigh around 12 ounces. Generally, their coats are reddish brown or greyish-brown with a white stripe along the sides and sometimes along the spine too,Their back is either grey-brown or red-brown, with white stripes down their sides and a paler grey underbelly. Their tail is barred with black and grey stripes. These small squirrels are endothermic. The rodents prefer to live in groups in burrows dug in rocky areas or grasslands. Burrows dug in agricultural land are common for this animal. The diet is primarily seeds and fruits.

Barbary ground squirrels are known to breed from April into July, depending on their elevation. The lower the elevation, the earlier they breed in relation to snowfall. Their breeding season generally lasts a month. Several males often pursue one female. Factors influencing female mate choice and other mating rituals have not been clearly defined, although females often breed twice per season. The degree of mate fidelity between breeding events is also unknown.

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