Come on then if you think you're hard enough: Adorable desert squirrels at play on their first outing from mother's burrow

By Rebecca Seales

Hard nut: This baby ground squirrel wasn't afraid to pose for the cameras on its first trip out of the burrow

These cute baby round-tailed ground squirrels couldn't contain their excitement after being let out of the safety of their burrow for the first time.

The tiny siblings didn't waste any time exploring the big wide world around them.

And it wasn't long before they were up to mischief, as they began playfighting as soon as their mother was out of sight.

Playfighting: This pair of babies started a scuffle as soon as their mother's back was turned - though they almost appear to be kissing

Photographer Eirini Pajak took these adorable shots close to his home in Florence, Arizona.

The 35-year-old said: 'The youngsters spend most of the day nibbling little bits of grass, but they also would pick on each other and play-fight.

'They were not exactly graceful as they were just learning to stand so they would often fall over in clumsiness.

Daylight! The babies emerge from the gloom of their burrow for a first look at the world - as one uses its sibling's tail as a sun-shield

Sticking together: Sunlight must have come as a shock to the critters, which live underground between late August and January or February

'I had been watching this particular hole on a regular basis so I know that when I found these guys it was their first time above ground.

He added: 'I shot everything from my car. I spent a lot of time parked near their hole so that they would get used to me.

'I picked them because they were near a little dirt road, so the mother was somewhat used to occasional cars.'

Maternal guidance: The mother squirrel steps in to reassure her four youngsters as they familiarise themselves with their new surroundings

Holding on tight: Despite their mischief the babies still stick close to their mother - who keeps a watchful eye on their safety



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