Barbary ground squirrels (Atlantoxerus getulus)

Barbary ground squirrels breed seasonally in the spring. The period during which breeding occurs depends on their altitude. In lower elevations where there is much less snow they breed in April, while at higher elevations they breed in July. Their young are precolonial, but tend to spend about the first month of their lives with their mother. After having their first batch of young, the mother often breeds again, raising two batches of young at the same time. Other than casual observations regarding the time young are associated with their mother and when males are seen pursuing females, little is known about their reproductive cycle.

The Barbary ground squirrel is a colonial animal and lives in family groups in burrows in dry grassland, bushy and rocky areas including disturbed agricultural land, or in dens among rocks. It needs access to water but is not found in irrigated fields. It tends to come out to feed early in the morning and again in the evening, retreating into its burrow during the heat of the day. It feeds on plant material and a major part of its diet is the fruit and seeds of the argan tree (Argania spinosa). If the population builds up and food is scarce, the Barbary ground squirrel may migrate. The females give birth to litters of up to four young, twice a year.

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