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Gray Squirrel Behavior


There were usually two to four squirrels in site at a time during the hours of 8: ... Even when offered food the squirrels avoided close contact with humans, but when ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Gray Squirrel Behavior

Gray Squirrel Behavior
  • To find out if living among a greater human
    population will change behavior as compared to a
    natural environment.
  • To determine if time of day affects squirrel
  • To determine what causes the size of territory

Site Information
  • We had several sites that we choose to watch and
  • We observed at various times of the day to try
    and get an accurate picture of the squirrels
  • The different sites we used included
  • A city backyard
  • Bellarmines campus around the dorms
  • Seneca Park
  • Beargrass Creek

Park Observations
  • Early in the morning was when this site was most
  • There were usually two to four squirrels in site
    at a time during the hours of 800- 1200
  • After about 1200 the squirrel activity slowed
    down. The activity also remained mostly in the
    trees at this point
  • After 400 the squirrel activity was practically
    nonexistent. After 800 was the same.

PARK Observations (CON.)
  • Around the trees was the highest activity.
  • Most of the activity on the ground was chasing
    after food like nuts or other small food
  • The tree activity included chasing other
    squirrels, breaking open nuts as seen by the nut
    casings all around the main trees, and chattering
    at humans or other animals nearby as a type of
  • A particular observation of this site was that
    squirrels seemed to not take kindly to my
  • The activity was lower during the beginning of my
    observation and squirrels never attempt to come
    near me.
  • Even when offered food the squirrels avoided
    close contact with humans, but when returning
    later in the day the food was gone.

Beargrass Observations
  • This site was across the street from Bellarmine
    College but far enough away so that very few
    humans were around during observation.
  • The squirrels in this area were more spread out
    and harder to find. Our particular site was home
    to only one or two squirrels
  • Nests were easy to find in the large trees after
    the leaves fell.
  • The telltale clumps of hanging leaves showed us
    that the squirrel population was there.
  • The activity again centered around early morning
    and early afternoon with very little night

Beargrass Observations (con)
  • There again was no human/squirrel contact even
    when food was offered.
  • Many times food left for a couple hours would
    still be there upon return.
  • The conclusion was that the lower the
    concentration of food the lower the population.
    Greater territory for a single squirrel was
    assumed because few squirrels were spotted at a

Dorm Observations
  • This site was located around Lenihan and
  • Chosen because even though there is human contact
    with the site, there also is a lot of trees and
    cover for the squirrels to enjoy.
  • This site had by far the most activity both on
    the ground and in the trees.
  • The number of squirrels during the morning and
    afternoon almost doubled from any other site.
  • Close contact with humans was seen frequently and
    food offered was taken when four to five yards
    away from our observation point.

Dorm Observations (con)
  • The domestication of the squirrels probably
    developed over the years due to close contact
    with humans.
  • The abundance of food from both the many walnut
    trees and the huge trash cans around the dorms
    allowed for more squirrels around the site.
  • This causes there to be smaller areas of
    territory and therefore better chance of human

Observations of intraspecies activity
  • The site with the most intraspecies activity was
    the site at Bellarmine. The squirrels were very
    active with each other. Chasing each other away
    from territory, chattering back and forth from
    rival trees, and being altogether sociable.
  • The park site was less obvious but the aggressive
    tendencies were obvious. When two squirrels were
    in the same area there usually was a dominant one
    who would chase off the other one and controlled
    the greater food source.

Observations of intraspecies activity
  • The Beargrass Creek site was hard to observe
    intraspecies activity because there usually was
    only one or occasionally two squirrels in our
    site area. This was because of the lack of a
    dense food supply causing territories to be much

Conclusions about Activity time
  • First the squirrel activity did not change that
    much from site to site. The observation time in
    relation to density of squirrel activity was
    basically this for all sites
  • The most activity was between 800-1200
  • Followed by 300 and 500
  • The next was between 1200 and 300
  • The lowest was any time after about 600 or after

Conclusion about size of territory
  • Territory seems to be relational to amount of
    food and the density of the trees.
  • The greatest number of squirrels were found
    around Bellarmines Dorms which had the greatest
    source of both manmade food and greatest density
    of nut producing trees that we observed
  • Next was Seneca Park which had several nut
    producing trees and other food sources. However
    the density of the trees was less then that of
    the Dorm site causing less area for the squirrels
    to nest in.
  • The Beargrass site was the highest density of
    trees but many of them were not nut producing,
    causing territory size to be fairly large

Conclusions about Human Contact
  • The ability to withstand human contact seems to
    be an acquired trait.
  • The only squirrels that seemed to take to human
    offerings as close contact was at Bellarmines
  • The conclusion for this seems to be as territory
    shrinks and food sources become less dense,
    contact occurs more frequently out of need and
    not want.