Antelope Ground Squirrels at Houston Zoo

Antelope Ground Squirrel at Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Antelope Ground Squirrel at Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

These Antelope Ground Squirrels at the Houston Zoo were just adorable. Never heard of them before, let alone seen any. They were in a building that had birds in it, of course, and they caught my attention. They landscape their displays and enclosures at the Houston Zoo very well. The squirrels had plenty of room to roam around in and they seemed quite content. Could it be because they didn’t need to worry about predators

Antelope Ground Squirrel Sign Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by LeeAccording to this sign, Antelope Ground Squirrel is found in Arizona and New Mexico and use a variety of vocalizations to tell each other which type of predator is approaching. Isn’t their Creator amazing to give them this ability? Let’s go see what else we can find out about these cute little critters:

They need to scratch,

They need to scratch,

Sorry, that was a small joke, but he did scratch just as I took his/her picture.  :)

Antelope Ground Squirrel Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee (1)

About half of their place at the zoo.

They had lots of room to roam.

“Antelope squirrels or antelope ground squirrels of the genus Ammospermophilus are sciurids found in the desert and dry scrub areas of south-western United States and northern Mexico. They are a type of ground squirrel and are able to resist hyperthermia and can survive body temperatures over 40 °C (104 °F).
There are currently four recognised species in the world, with one subspecies:

  • Harris’s antelope squirrel, A. harrisii, found in Arizona, New Mexico, and Sonora in Mexico.
  • The San Joaquin antelope squirrel or Nelson’s antelope squirrel, A. nelsoni, found in the San Joaquin Valley, California.
  • Texas antelope squirrel, A. interpres, found in Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico.
  • The white-tailed antelope squirrel, A. leucurus, found in the southwestern United States and the Baja California peninsula.
  • The subspecies of the Espíritu Santo antelope squirrel, A. insularis, found on Isla Espíritu Santo.

All are somewhat similar in appearance and behavior. They are around 14–17 centimetres (5.5–6.7 in) long with a 6–10 centimetres (2.4–3.9 in) tail, and weigh 110–150 grams (3.9–5.3 oz). The tail is somewhat flattened. They have a single white stripe on both flanks and none on the face. They live in burrows, which they dig for themselves. They are diurnal, and do not hibernate (though they become less active during the winter), so they are fairly easily seen.” (Wikipedia)

Antelope Ground Squirrel Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee (2)

This one looks like a youngster, so they are following the Lord’s command to fill the earth:

Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. (Genesis 8:17 KJV)

Antelope Ground Squirrel by Lee

Antelope Ground Squirrel by Lee

“Antelope squirrels are commonly found in dry, shrubby areas of the southern United States into Mexico. These areas are sandy with rocky areas that provide soil that can be burrowed into for shelter and to escape the heat of the day. The temperatures in these regions can exceed 37.8 °C (100.0 °F) during the day and require special adaptations by the ground squirrels to survive. During the night, temperatures in these desert and dry areas may dip below freezing which again requires adaptations to survive. There is very limited free-standing water supply. These regions often suffer from long bouts of drought.” (Wikipedia) Could it just be that again their Creator created them for this big swing in temperature?

Here are all the photos taken of this adorable cute little critters:

I know these aren’t birds, but I am sure there are some birds out there that know all about them.
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3 thoughts on “Antelope Ground Squirrels at Houston Zoo

  1. Oh, they ARE adorable. Just looking at these makes me want to pet one.

    Back when I was in high school, my dad made a pet of a regular gray squirrel that lived in our neighborhood. At the time my dad, an accountant, had his office in a section of our house that had a separate entrance off the front porch. The squirrel started coming around the yard and the porch, so my dad started feeding it.

    He named it Chipper, and he’d talk to it every day and finally got it to eat out of his hand. When he went out in the morning, if the squirrel wasn’t there, he’d call for him by name, and even if he were across the street in a tree, he’d come running.

    Eventually, he got so tame that he started coming to the porch and climbing on the screen door that opened to Dad’s office. He could see my dad sitting at the desk inside the room. Chipper would then crawl along that screen door and make noises at him until Dad went out to give him something and play with him.

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  2. Squirrels are so adorable, I was so excited when I saw my first one recently in London, and more excited when I saw the native red squirrel in Scottish Highlands, as they are slowly being wiped out by the presence of the American grey, and are becoming endangered. This little ground squirrel is a remarkable little guy.

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