The Kgalagadi is hot as hell! In the arid savanna in the middle of South Africa is a place called Hot as hell. Believe it or not its true. Its spelt Hotazel. Well any way hot as it is in the Kgalagadi bush, many animals have adapted to it and there live the most amazing little creatures…. Ground squirrels!
The colony I stumbled across was about 30 strong and that is quite average for a colony. They dig burrows into the ground and are very sneaky about coming out of them cuz there are enough predators who would just love a juicy ground squirrel meal. So “Look before you leave” is what is posted over the ground squirrel burrow exit.
As a gregarious group of animals they forage together in small groups or even alone. The youngsters are always escorted by a knowing adult or two to keep them alive. All that said they do not venture far from a handy burrow entrance. Their enemies are on the ground and in the air and so they keep a close watch on both
They make a tasty meal for the predators that target them and so they have to be on the watch all the time. They survive the intense heat by staying in their burrows. The sand heats up on the surface but the temperature under the sand about a meter down is cool and pleasant. They also have a very wide bushy tail ad use it as an umbrella for foraging under the hot sun.
The problem is that it limits what they can see overhead. So being on sentry duty is a serious business.
Martial eagles, goshawks, jackals, honey badgers are all on the look out for a nice plump squirrel and they are always on the alert. Eternal vigilance is the price of life, in this case.