The Fuerteventura squirrels are found pretty much all over the island. Their correct name is the Barbary Ground Squirrel which are endemic to Western Sahara, Algeria and Morocco. They were introduced into Fuerteventura in 1965 and have thrived ever since. Many people refer to them as chipmunks or Fuerteventura chipmunks, which they do resemble.
Next to goats they are probably the most common animals of Fuerteventura, perhaps even more common. They live in colonies and family groups in burrows. I don’t know how they survive in the summer to be honest, when there is no water and little vegetation.
They are extremely friendly and very cute. They take food out of your hand and I have never known one to bite. I think they are definitely my favourite type of wildlife of Fuerteventura.
The local councils are trying to stop people feeding the Fuerteventura squirrels as they are considered “introduced vermin”. Well every living thing in Fuerteventura has evolved elsewhere and ended up here so perhaps that should apply to all animals – especially man! My advice is ignore the notices and carry on feeding them.
Fuerteventura Squirrels at the Volcano
I filmed this at the top of a volcano near Lajares in the north of Fuerteventura, not far from Corralejo, which can be seen in the background of the video. The walk up there was also filmed, to show how to get to the viewing platform. Unfortunately the camera didn’t record it. So I guess I will make a follow up video showing how to get there. Still the exercise will do me good. It takes about 45-50 minutes to walk from the road between Lajares and Majanicho.. I guess I will have to take some more food and water for the cute chipmunks of Fuerteventura.
See how cute the squirrels are by watching the video below: