Head and body length: 18.8 - 21.4 cm
220 - 360 g
Open conifer forests of Mexico's Baja California region
Long time no see. Endemic to the dry forests of a single mountain range, Mearns's squirrel has been separated from other members of its genus for nearly 12,000 years. During this isolation, marked differences have developed. Unlike its close relatives it is non-territorial, nests almost exclusively in tree cavities, and does not build and defend food stores. Instead, it simply caches pine and fir tree seeds and other food items in branches. Foraging consumes over half the squirrel's time as it scrambles to deal with deforestation and possibly competition with the introduced eastern grey squirrel. Could time be running out?