gray squirrel behavior l.
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Gray Squirrel Behavior. Objective. 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 activity To determine what causes the size of territory. Site Information.

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  • 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 activity
  • To determine what causes the size of territory
site information
Site Information
  • We had several sites that we choose to watch and observe
  • We observed at various times of the day to try and get an accurate picture of the squirrels behavior.

The different sites we used included

  • A city backyard
  • Bellarmine’s campus around the dorms
  • Seneca Park
  • Beargrass Creek
park observations
Park Observations
  • Early in the morning was when this site was most active.
  • There were usually two to four squirrels in site at a time during the hours of 8:00- 12:00
  • After about 12:00 the squirrel activity slowed down. The activity also remained mostly in the trees at this point
  • After 4:00 the squirrel activity was practically nonexistent. After 8:00 was the same.
park observations con
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 particles
  • 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 warning.
  • A particular observation of this site was that squirrels seemed to not take kindly to my presence.
  • 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
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 activity.
beargrass observations con
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 time.
dorm observations
Dorm Observations
  • This site was located around Lenihan and Bonaventure.
  • 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
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 contact.
observations of intraspecies activity
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 activity11
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 larger.
conclusions about activity time
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 8:00-12:00
  • Followed by 3:00 and 5:00
  • The next was between 12:00 and 3:00
  • The lowest was any time after about 6:00 or after sunset.
conclusion about size of territory
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 Bellarmine’s 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
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 Bellarmine’s dorms.
  • 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.