IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria EU conservation status Conservation status assesses every six years and for each biogeographical region the condition of habitats and species compared to the favourable status as described in the Habitats Directive. The map shows the assessments as reported by EU Member State. Assessments are further detailed in the summary document available behind the link below. Favourable: the species is viable and maintaining itself on a long-term basis, its natural range is not reduced, and it has a sufficient large habitat. Unfavourable-Inadequate: the species is not as critical as being unfavourable-bad, but still requires significant conservation and restoration measure to make it viable in the long-term, or to enlarged its current range, or to improve the quality and availability of its habitat.
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European ground squirrel whistling European ground squirrel eating the seeds of the denseflower mullein The European ground squirrel is a colonial animal and is mainly diurnal. At other places in the home range it digs unbranched bolt holes in which to hide if danger threatens. If alarmed it emits a piercing whistle and when it is out in the open it often sits upright and looks around for predators.
These include the weasel , fox , domestic cat and some species of birds of prey. It feeds on grasses, other plants, flowers, seeds, cultivated crops, insects and occasionally the eggs of ground nesting birds or their chicks.
Rather over half of the day was spent foraging but other activities observed included exploration, running, sitting, grooming, digging, scent marking and vigilance. Each individual occupies a separate chamber and during this period, the body temperature drops to 2.
The gestation period is about twenty six days and five to eight young are born in a chamber deep in the burrow. They are naked and blind and their eyes open at about 4 weeks old. The female feeds them for six weeks and soon after that they are ready to leave the burrow. They reach maturity the following spring and may live for eight to ten years.
The southern and the northwestern and northern parts of the range are most seriously affected. The main threats are the conversion of grassland and pasture to cultivated fields or to forestry, and the abandonment of grassland and its reversion to unsuitable tall grass meadows and bushy habitats that do not suit the animal. Urbanization and road building have sometimes fragmented communities and prevented recolonisation of empty sites.
Its populations became increasingly fragmented and are facing serious declines across most of its range throughout last decades. The European souslik is endemic to Europe. It is undoubtedly an important natural element of the steppic grassland ecosystem. In the short grass steppe habitat the species represents one of the main prey for several top predators listed in Annex I of the Birds Directive, such as the Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca, Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina, Saker Falcon Falco cherrug etc.
European Ground Squirrel
European ground squirrel