Home Range Sizes of Fox Squirrels in Southwest Georgia

Home range size quantifies space needed by an animal in a given area and time. Because fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) home range estimates in the Southeast are rare, I radio-monitored fox squirrels to determine their seasonal and composite (i.e., total duration of monitoring) home range size in southwest Georgia between March 1998 and September 1999. There was no sex by season interaction (P =0.11). Male seasonal and composite home ranges (35.8±4.4 ha and 37.0±3.6 ha, respectively) were larger (P <0.001) than female home ranges (seasonal = 13.3±1.5 ha, composite =21.0±6.3 ha). Seasonal home ranges were largest (34.3±5.9 ha) during March-May of 1998 and smallest (5.9± 1.2 ha) during January-February of 1999. Southeastern fox squirrels require more space than midwestern fox squirrels, perhaps a result of patchily distributed and/or temporally variable food supplies. Food abundance and breeding behavior may explain seasonal variation in home range size.

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