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Gopher – 10 interesting facts and anecdotes

The ground squirrel is an adorable mammal of the Afrovid subfamily, found in Eurasia. There are many species of ground squirrels, the most popular of which are, among others, the European ground squirrel and the pearly ground squirrel.

  1. The European ground squirrel is present in Central and Eastern Europe, and in Poland it is considered an extinct species, although scientists are not 100% sure if this is the case.
  2. The beaded ground squirrel is smaller than the ground squirrel and certainly looks more like a squirrel, although it has a much shorter tail. It occurs in Eastern Europe, Russia, Moldova and Ukraine.
  3. Gophers are sociable and spend their lives in colonies of up to two hundred individuals. A large crowd warns against all dangers.
  4. Just before winter, ground squirrels begin preparing to survive winter, during which they hibernate in their burrows. During hibernation, their heart rate slows and their body temperature drops to about two degrees.
  5. In the summer, ground squirrels love to lie in the sun, and preferably right in front of their burrow, which is why they look a bit like vacationers by the hotel pool. When they feel threatened, I stand on my hind legs and look around to locate the danger.
  6. The Polish name for these animals probably comes from the Slavic word “susati”, which meant hissing and rustling. In the 15th century, they were called waffles in our country, and in the east they were called waffles.
  7. By standing on its hind legs and raising its head on tall grass, a ground squirrel can spot a dangerous predator even at a distance of one hundred and fifty meters.
  8. Gopher is completely immune to noise and although they are rather shy animals, they are not even bothered by the sounds of planes and helicopters taking off, which have been observed at Świdnik airport .
  9. The ground squirrel builds its burrow starting with an underground corridor that leads to the chamber, then builds a vertical corridor protruding from the surface and covering the corridor from which it started construction with soil. Thanks to this, he creates a burrow, which can only be entered through a carefully hidden well.
  10. Pearly ground squirrels are protected in Poland, live in reserves and are constantly monitored. If a given colony is covered by EU protection, it should be respected and even included in building plans in the area occupied by ground squirrels.


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