Head and body length, 11-33 cm; tail, 3.5-7.5 cm
Unknown; populations declining
Dry grasslands throughout central and southeastern Europe
Ukraine Thiras ke Moschonision, Athina 112 52, Greece Austria Czechia Slovakia Serbia Greece Romania Bulgaria Macedonia Greece, Greece Poland
Thin is definitely not in. A dedicated forager, the European ground squirrel works hard to pack on all the weight it can handle. After all, it has to live off its stored body fat for six to eight months as it hibernates through the cold weather in an underground den. Mature males emerge first, in February or March, followed by females and immature males. Adults waste no time in starting a family since the young-born naked-need to grow and fatten up before their first winter rolls around. This cycle of life is under threat as agricultural development, building activity and afforestation lay claim to be the squirrel's natural grassland habitat.