Antelope Squirrel Facts

Antelope squirrel facts about the cute and adorable species.

The white-tailed antelope squirrel is a small ground squirrel and is often seen running around the desert on hot days. The squirrel family includes ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, prairie dogs, and others who belong to a similar class, order, family, kingdom, or phylum. They are good seed dispersers making them essential for the sustainability of the environment. They compete for food with other species in the wild and share dens with round-tailed ground squirrels.

Antelope squirrels are diurnal and are active during the day including midday hours including the hottest time of the day. They are never found in groups and only come together for mating. They are endothermic and both males and females look alike. Records and information relating to the species exist in the Johns Hopkins University Press. Apart from this, records about squirrels exist in various journals as well.  In this article, we will take a look at some fun and interesting facts about this species. If you like this, check out the Indian palm squirrel and the Douglas squirrel.

Antelope Squirrel

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Insects, and mice

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

One litter per year

How much do they weigh?

4.0-5.3oz (113-150kg)

How long are they?

8.5-10.0 inch (22cm-25cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?


Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Hawks, snakes, bobcats, and domestic cats

What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them

Cacti, shrubs, and open plains


Southwestern United States, New Mexico





Scientific Name

Ammospermophilus leucurus





Antelope Squirrel Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an antelope squirrel?

The antelope squirrel, Ammospermophilus leucurus, is a squirrel.

What class of animal does an antelope squirrel belong to?

Antelope squirrels belong to the Mammalia class and are found in the southwestern United States and Mexico.

How many are there in the world?

The exact population of this species has not been evaluated, however, there exist five recognized species of squirrel. The antelope squirrel's geographical range extends from the north of North America to the south of North America. Their range extends outside the US into Mexico and other parts of the world as well.

Where does an antelope squirrel live?

Antelope squirrels, Ammospermophilus leucurus, live in woods and deserts as well as in and around houses. They are also seen in cacti, shrubs, open plains, river bottoms, valleys, and canyons.

What is an antelope squirrel's habitat?

They are primarily found in desert habitats including cacti, shrubs in open plains deserts with gravel and sand. They are also seen in canyons, valleys, and river bottoms. Their population mostly consists of yearlings. Home range antelope squirrels often create burrows which are usually less than 50m across.

Who do antelope squirrels live with?

Antelope squirrels are solitary beings and live on their own, they are seldom seen in packs except when they come together to look after their young ones. Home harris antelope squirrels live in underground burrows.

How long does an antelope squirrel live?

Their life span is from two to four years. In captivity, these squirrels can live for up to eleven years. The oldest squirrel lived in Wisconsin's Racine Zoo and survived for 23 years.  

How do they reproduce?

Antelope ground squirrels come together only for mating. Both males and females reach reproductive maturity during their first year. The breeding season is from February to March. They may also breed earlier hence the breeding season is not always at the same time. Females begin building nests for the young ones out of cotton. Embryos form in females between their gestation period which lasts 29 to 30 days. Ammospermophilus harrisii usually give birth to one baby per litter, in some instances, a second litter is raised simultaneously. On the first day, they lose their umbilical cord and their sex can be determined then. Within two weeks they develop black color by the second week they develop stripes by the third week young squirrels have front teeth and by week four their ears develop. By week five they usually leave their nest. Females then breed again only after a period of ten to eleven months.

What is their conservation status?

Ammospermophilus harrisii is classified as an Endangered species by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature (IUCN). This is primarily due to loss of habitat and illegal practices that the antelope squirrel has been a victim of.

Antelope Squirrel Fun Facts

What do antelope squirrels look like?

Antelope squirrels have fur on their body and they have the capacity to stay out in the heat collecting food until they can.

The antelope squirrel is gray in color and its body length, without the tail, is 8.5-10.0inch (22cm-25cm). It has white stripes on both its sides, a white underbelly, and a bushy black tail. Their cheeks are light and they have a white eyering. There are certain species of squirrels that have a full white striped tail and this gene is carried on from the mother to the offspring.

How cute are they?

All species of squirrels are extremely cute to look at given their relatively small stature. Some squirrels are innately wild and hence it best to keep a safe distance while watching them.

How do they communicate?

Antelope squirrels communicate via calls. They make use of stamps when they are alarmed. Their calls are usually a trill sound. These calls are common to both males as well as females. Trills are high pitched and the frequency of the same is based on the size of the squirrel.

How big is an antelope squirrel?

Antelope squirrels are 8.5-10.0inch (22cm-25cm) which is ten times bigger than the smallest species of squirrels the African pygmy squirrels who are 2.8inch-3.9inch (6-7.5cm) as an adult.

How fast can an antelope squirrel run?

They have extremely good speeds and can run fast with their tails in the air. When sensing any kind of danger they immediately run back to their burrows or shrubbery areas.

How much does an antelope squirrel weigh?

Antelope squirrels weigh 113-150kg (4.0-5.3oz). The heaviest squirrel is the black giant squirrel and weighs almost 1.5kg.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Male squirrels are called boars and female squirrels are called sows. They look similar in appearance hence it's difficult to tell them apart however, they differ in reproductive functions.

What would you call a baby antelope squirrel?

A baby antelope squirrel is called a kitten and is born blind at birth without fur. At seven weeks they grow to adult size. They are dependant on their mothers for the initial few weeks of their life. The young leave their underground nest when they are six or seven weeks old.

What do they eat?

They feed on a variety of different things, in the desert their diet primarily consists of a variety of desert plants and other seeds. They also feed on insects like rats, bugs, mice if they don't find an alternative to their primary preferred choice of food. During spring and summer, they feed on green plants and during winter they rely on a protein-based diet.

Are they dangerous?

They are not dangerous as compared to other wild animals however if one attacks them they are known to bite. Their immediate instinct is to run away or flee if they sense any predators. They also notify other mates of possible predators through calls. They have created trouble in farms by digging into irrigated fields.

Would they make a good pet?

No, keeping squirrels as pets is not a good idea since they are innately wild animals and deserve to live free lives. They are well equipped to live in the wild and it's illegal in many states to keep them as pets. They are definitely cute animals and one would love to keep them as pets but unfortunately, it's not a good idea both for the squirrel as well as the legal reasons.

Did you know...

Squirrels live in all continents except Australia and Antarctica. They were introduced by humans to Australia. Squirrels are most closely related to mountain beavers and dormice.

Arizona Sonora desert museum has three types of squirrels one is the rock squirrel, the round-tailed squirrel, and the harris antelope squirrel. It contains information about these species of animals as well.

Ivan Castro Arellano conducted a study at the Texas State University on 'The Systematics Of The Antelope Ground Squirrel' and is published on Research Gate.  

Do squirrels live in the prairie?

Yes, squirrels do live in prairies and are seen in grasslands in the United States as well as Mexico and other parts of the world. They can also reside in urban and suburban areas. They are accommodative and easily adapt to different living conditions as long as their basic needs are met.

Do squirrels remember humans?

While squirrels are innately wild animals they are taken care of by human hosts when they are young and ins such instances they remember humans. In some instances, they are also known to meet their owners in order to reconnect with them and are also willing to return to a food source all over again. Male squirrels are known to get attached to humans. They express lots of emotions mostly through their tails. One should be extremely careful when touching a squirrel since they have sharp claws and are known to scratch humans as well. They are intelligent and unique beings and enjoy the company of human beings but are not best if kept as pets. If you ever spot any species of squirrels around you keep a keen eye and try to spot the right species of squirrel if you can.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including the Japanese macaque and the red squirrel.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our squirrels at Christmas coloring pages.



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