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SCIN130 Course Project: Squirrel

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Vanessa M

on 12 January 2014

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Transcript of SCIN130 Course Project: Squirrel

Gray Squirrels

Squirrels in the surroundings of my work building

The eastern gray squirrel was observed in Leavenworth, KS, in my backyard in a rural area, the surroundings of the building where I work in an urban area, and at Fort Leavenworth, KS.
Why Squirrels?

I chose squirrels because I have always lived in big cities where the only animals I saw in the streets were dogs, so when I moved the U.S., I started seeing squirrels on the streets, in my yard, where I work, and, well, almost everywhere. I decided to research them and learn more about these fascinating, yet ordinary, biological organisms.
Koprowski, J. L. (1994). Sciurus carolinensis. The American Society of Mammalogists, (480), 1-9. Retrieved from http://www.science.smith.edu/msi/pdf/i0076-3519-480-01-0001.pdf

Lawniczak, M. K. (n.d.). Sciurus carolinensis. Retrieved from the University of Michigan website: http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Sciurus_carolinensis.html

Long, K. (1995). Squirrels: A wildlife handbook. (1st ed.). Boulder, CO: Johnson Books.

Thorington, R. W., & Ferrel, K. (2006) Squirrels: The animal answer guide. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Available from http://apus.aquabrowser.com.ezproxy2.apus.edu//?itemid=%7clibrary%2fm%2fapus%7cebr10188510

Wheater, C. (1999). Urban habitats. London: Routledge. Available from http://apus.aquabrowser.com.ezproxy2.apus.edu//?itemid=%7clibrary%2fm%2fapus%7cocm50496701

Figure 1: Are Squirrels Foodies? (2012). Retrieved from At the Edge of the Wood website: http://www.attheedgeofthewood.com/2012/09/12/are-squirrels-foodies/
Figure 2: Eastern Gray Squirrel Enjoy Them … (2013). Retrieved from Natural World Through my Camera website: http://naturalworldthroughmycamera.blogspot.com/2013/12/osage-orange.html
Figure 3: Retrieved from http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1179970/thumbs/o-SQUIRRELS-EATING-PIZZA-facebook.jpg
Figure 4: Spring is on its way!! (2010). Retrieved from the Wildlife Rehabilitation website: http://www.wrcmn.org/pulse/archives/category/nursery-news/page/5

Eastern Gray Squirrel
Sciurus carolinensis
Common Names:
Carolina gray squirrel, black squirrel, migratory squirrel, cat squirrel, timber squirrel, silvertail

Domain: Eukarya
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Sciurus
Species: S. carolinensis
(Long, 1995)
Young Squirrel on my
Back Porch
Squirrels in my
Back Yard
Squirrels eating "almost anything"
Foraging Ecology
Eastern gray squirrels eat almost anything they can get a hold of such as candy bars, leftover pizza, and chicken (Thorington & Ferrel, 2006, p. 102). From my observations, in the wild I saw them eating shelled nuts and corn from the deer feeder I have in my back yard. During the summer, squirrels in the wild have more abundant food because seeds and ripe fruits are plentiful and during the winter, they start hoarding food and burying it 2cm below the soil; they consume around 350g of food weekly (Koprowski, 1994, p. 5).
They open their nuts in about 23 minutes; they can do that because of their strong jaw muscles and curved incisors (Thorington & Ferrel, 2006, p. 106).
Eastern gray squirrels usually breed twice a year and have two to eight squirrels annually; two to four per litter (Lawniczak). They are born almost naked with the exception of their vibrissae (whiskers) and although they are mature to begin breeding at 5.5 months, they usually begin around 15 months (Lawniczak). Gestation lasts approximately 44 days (Lawniczak). Lawniczak explains that offspring are born weighing between 13 and 18 grams. Their life expectancy is around 12.5 years for those living in the wild, and 20 years for those living in captivity (Lawniczak).
Eastern gray squirrels usually live in terrestrial biomes where they can feed on abundant autotrophic organisms (Weather, 1999, p. 140). Weather explains that they build nests—called dreys—made with twigs and leaves on the outside and softer bedding material on the inside about 16 feet above ground in trees (p. 140).
Drey in an oak tree in the VA campus I work at
From my observations, squirrels retreat when humans' approach. Thorington and Ferrel (2006) explain that squirrels are not very social and they do not make good pets because they usually bite people and destroy things (p. 51, 114). They engage in playing behavior. For example, they like to play with objects found on the ground, they engage in sexual play, they climb just for fun, and they like to wrestle (Thorington & Ferrel, 2006, p. 55).
Eastern gray squirrels have lived on Earth for over 36 million years. These small rodents of gray-brown color have some interesting habits sometimes similar to our human habits. For example, when humans hear that a winter storm is coming, they go stock up on food and water. Squirrels stock up food before the winter. This presentation provides a profile of the eastern gray squirrel.

Figure 4. Newborn Squirrel
Figure 1. Eating Strawberries
Figure 2. Eating Osage Orange
Figure 3. Eating Pizza
Full transcript