PROJEKT: Conservation of European Ground Squirrel
LIFE syseľ

A fat ground squirrel, a healthy ground squirrel, this applies especially in this period before hibernation. Ground squirrels can weigh up to more than 500 g. In the spring, they weigh around 200 g. If you see a skinny ground squirrel during this late summer period, you are probably seeing him for the last time. He won’t survive the winter. The heavier they are, the less they try to run – for one thing, not to waste energy unnecessarily, but also the heavier they are, the slower they are. Therefore, if they don’t want to become prey for predators, they have to think.
It is not so easy for ground squirrels to find food these days. But there are still places where there is a mosaic of farming, there are fruit trees and ground squirrels have plenty of food. One such location is in Hrhov – pastures towards Košice. Ground squirrels there like to eat thistles – i.e. their seeds. And in front of their holes, they have it like a towel. You can also see this thistle and the remains of ground squirrel holes at the White Waters in Murán from the fence above.
Thistles are also related to grazing because they are unpalatable to animals and leave them untouched.
So grazing and diversity of management in the country is what will help groundhogs to gain weight before winter and survive in the future. And that is exactly what we are restoring for them in the country as part of our project.

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