Urban fox squirrel ecology and management

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Title: Urban fox squirrel ecology and management
Author: McCleery, Robert Alan
Abstract: I studied the habitat selection , survival , and anti -predator behaviors of the fox squirrel (Siurus niger ) across the urban -rural gradient in College Station , Texas . From two years of tracking the radio locations of 82 fox squirrels , my data suggested that fox squirrels in urban areas selected for use large mast bearing trees that mimicked the habitat features they prefer in non -urban areas and avoided conifer and ornamental tree species . Urban fox squirrels selected to use buildings and non -native grass during certain seasons and showed a tolerance for pavement , including it proportionally in their core -areas . Analysis of radio -telemetry data of urban and rural fox squirrels suggested that the rates of survival and causes of mortality differed between the two populations . At least 60 % of the mortalities on the rural site were caused by predation , while < 5 % of the mortalities on the urban site were caused by predation . Most of the mortalities on the urban site ( >60 % ) were cause by vehicular collisions . Observations of anti -predator behaviors supported my hypothesis that squirrels decrease their anti -predator behaviors as the human presence increases . Observational data also supported my hypothesis that this phenomenon was caused by habituation . I also found that the time dedicated to anti -predator behaviors differed among urban , rural , and suburban fox squirrel populations in response to coyote and hawk vocalizations . The mean responses to both vocalizations on the rural site (coyote = 45 % , hawk = 55 % ) were at least twice that of those found on the urban sites (coyote = 11 % , hawk = 20 % ) . I also used survey responses to questions about squirrel management to test theoretical frameworks linking attitudes to behaviors . My data suggests that beliefs and attitudes that are modified by variables shown to increase accessibility generally correspond better to behaviors . My data also suggests that the inclusion of a measure of previous behaviors will increase the predictive ability of models within different theoretical frameworks . Most importantly for the advancement of a comprehensive theoretical framework , my study showed that composite models combining components of the theory of reasoned action and attitude to behavioral process models out -performed other models .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /5908
Date: 2007-09-17


Urban fox squirrel ecology and management. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /5908 .

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