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Wyatt Collins
Wyatt Collins

Antelope Squirrel !FULL!


The White-tailed antelope squirrel is a species of ground squirrel that has brown to gray fur with two white stripes running from the shoulder to the hind end. Their bellies and the underside of their tails are white in color and there is a black stripe on the tail. Their ears are tiny and somewhat circular.




antelope squirrel


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The white-tailed antelopesquirrel sports a short tail, only about half its body length, where that ofthe chipmunk is as long as its body. This tail is, of course, white on theunderside and like all antelope squirrels, it carries the tail arched forwardand laid out tightly on its back.


It is its behavior as much asits looks that endear the white-tailed antelope squirrel to anyone who sees it.Because of larger feet, the white-tailed antelope squirrel is a fast and agilerunner, faster than the other four recognized species of antelope squirrels.Like a four-legged rocket, it shoots from bush to bush and makes long leaps. Itcan scramble up a steep rock face, hardly seeming to touch the surface. Thisfrenetic activity likely makes them a challenging target for predators.


All this frenzied running,jumping and scrambling can abruptly stop when the white-tailed antelopesquirrel feels safe though, and perpetual motion changes to languid serenity. Afterstanding on their oversized back feet to check for danger, they may stretch outon a rock, acting like sunbathers on a beach, and just as relaxed.


Like many ground squirrels,white-tailed antelope squirrels are diurnal, meaning they are active during theday. They tend to rest during the hottest part of the day, often retreating totheir burrows. In the desert environments where all species of antelopesquirrels live, many predators are most active at night when it is a little cooler.Daytime activity is an adaptation to reduce predation.


Antelope ground squirrels areomnivorous, with diets following availability of food resources. During thespringtime, up to 60 percent of their diet is green vegetation. As summerprogresses, seeds and fruits become increasingly important. However, they arealso predators themselves, eating large numbers of invertebrates. White-tailedantelope squirrels are even more carnivorous than the other species and willeat small lizards and even baby mice.


As desert dwellers, antelopesquirrels are active year-round, not hibernating like many of their groundsquirrel cousins. During winter time, they rely on stored seeds for much oftheir diet but will still forage above ground as needed.


White-tailed antelope squirrelsinhabit arid regions from southeastern Oregon to northern Arizona and NewMexico and south through the entire Baja Peninsula. However, in Idaho, they arefound only in the far southwest corner of the state, mostly along the SnakeRiver.


Many areas of the western Mojave Desert have been severely impacted during the past 30 years because of human activity on lands adjacent to rapidly developing desert cities. Antelope ground squirrels were studied in order to determine the degree and scope of these borderland utilization zones. Three suburban-to-rural transects, plus one control site, were located near the city of Ridgecrest. Each transect was surveyed and rated for 10 types of human impact, and live-trapping for ground squirrel abundance was conducted along the entire length. Both the cumulative human impact ratings and the number of ground squirrel captures tended to increase with increasing proximity to the edge of development. This suggests that these ground squirrels are an edge-enhanced species and may in turn be an indicator of an overall reduction in habitat quality.


The annual demography of a population of antelope ground squirrels in Curlew Valley, Utah was studied by measuring population density, natality, and mortality. Capture- recapture techniques yielded lower estimates than the Hayne strip- census. The estimates suggested 1968 was a year of population decline.


One hundred seventy- three squirrels were collected and autopsied to obtain sex ratio , age structure, natality, and mortality data . The seasonal sex ratios for adult and yearling squirrels showed 82 percent females in spring 1968, this gradually changed to 56 percent by winter . The seasonal sex ratios of the young squirrels showed 59 percent females upon emergence from natal burrows in summer 1968, increasing to 79 percent by winter.


Adult and yearling spring-to-spring mortality for study area squirrels calculated from retrap data was 81 percent. Spring-to-spring mortality calulated from age distribution data and Ricker's formula was 71 percent. The spring-to-fall mortality for 1968 calculated from density estimates and age distribution data was 53 percent. 041b061a72


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