Home Range And Dispersal In A North Carolina Gray Squirrel Population

Home range and dispersal patterns of gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) in an unexploited population near Raleigh were determined by recapturing marked or tagged animals in leaf nests, live traps and artificial nest boxes during 1956-65. Adult gray squirrels occupied yearly home ranges averaging 1.8 Younger squirrels were more mobile and had larger home areas, 2.7 acres for subadults and 2.5 acres for juveniles. In all age classes males had larger average home ranges than females. Home ranges of young females and of adults were more stable than those of young males. Squirrels known to have survived for from 1 to 8 years occupied rather small areas, indicating that individuals tended to remain in the same area for their lifetime. Young squirrels often remained with their mother for 6 months or longer. Seventy squirrels remained in the area of their birth and 9 females produced litters in the same nest boxes in which they, themselves, were born. Subadult males between 8 and II months of age moved more frequently and greater distances from their birth sites than females or other age classes. With the exception of a probable exodus of squirrels from the study areas in 1960-61, no appreciable annual reshuffling of the population was noted.

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