The Arctic ground squirrel has a shortened breeding season. The testes of males descend from their abdomens to their scrotums during the first week after hibernation (the testes regress in early June). Once this occurs, the three week breeding season begins. The pups are born after a twenty-five day gestation period with no hair or teeth and their eyes shut. The litter sizes range from five to ten individuals. Newborn squirrels gain skin pigmentations on the fourth day. After eight days the babies grow hair, and their eyes open around twenty days. Once their eyes are open, they begin to wander around. At first they do not wander too far away, but after a week they begin to travel farther distances. Around this time, the pups are weaned from their mothers. By September they are almost fully grown and will leave their natal burrow in the late summer to find another burrow to occupy, or they may dig a new burrow on the outskirts of the community. These sites may become flooded or covered in permafrost, leading to a considerably high mortality of young Arctic ground squirrels. These young squirrels are active for a longer period of time than the adults because they must acquire more fat to survive the winter. In the following spring, they reach a mature weight. (Banfield, 1974; Wouding 1982)
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