NATIVE RANGE: Northern and Eastern Asia
FIRST FINDING IN SLOVENIA: No recorded findings in nature yet
PATHWAYS: escape and release from captivity
POSSIBLE TO FIND: year-round
DESCRIPTION: A small ground squirrel (head-body length 12–17 cm, with a tail of 8–11 cm) with five dark, equally broad longitudinal stripes on its back and two dark stripes on each side of the head. The throat and belly are white but ear tufts are absent. When alarmed, it emits “chirping” sounds.
HABITAT: Coniferous and deciduous forests with a rich undergrowth as well as parks and gardens.
STATUS: Populations are locally established in at least seven European countries, but not fiound in Slovenia.
SIMILAR SPECIES: The eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) is larger (22–27 cm), has a grey rather than brown back and a narrower mid-dorsal stripe. The Himalayan striped squirrel (Tamiops mcclellandii) and Swinhoe’s striped squirrel (Tamiops swinhoei) are smaller (max. 11 cm) and have distinct white ear tufts.
NOTE: this species is included in the list of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern (the Union list) of Regulation (EU) 1143/2014. The species included on the Union list are subject to restrictions and measures set out in the Regulation. These include restrictions on keeping, importing, selling, breeding and growing. Member States are required to take action on pathways of unintentional introduction, to take measures for the early detection and rapid eradication of these species, and to manage species that are already widely spread in their territory.