Squirrel Caching 101
Squirrels at our study sites will be assigned uniquely colour coded eartags. We ask the community to participate by reporting observations of tagged squirrels to our iNaturalist project. These reports can be made either on the iNaturalist website, or through an associated android or apple mobile app.
Observations of the same squirrel may submitted at whatever frequency participants would like (i.e. multiple observations of the same squirrel can be submitted within a single day).
Instructions and examples for submissions can be found on the iNaturalist “CitiSci(urid)” project page. If you are having trouble finding and joining our project, please consult our step-by-step instructions for joining. The important features to note are the left and right eartag colours (squirrel’s left/right), fur colour (Grey or Intermediate/Black), sex (pipe-cleaner: male; wire: female), sighting date, and sighting location (place marker on map).
Example: Both of the above photos have pipe-cleaners, and so both of these squirrels are male. Both squirrels also have fur that is dark/melanistic, and so will be reported as black. The primary difference between these two individuals is in the order of the blue and red eartags. Left photo: Left-Blue Right-Red Black Male. Right photo: Left-Red Right-Blue Black Male.
Wildlife Disease Surveillance
Help us as we perform surveillance for pathogens of public health and conservation concern. Valuable information can often be obtained from autopsy of dead wildlife. We ask that the community help us by reporting the location of dead grey squirrels (tagged or untagged) through either the iNaturalist project, or by email. We also encourage the community to submit observations of squirrels (tagged or untagged) exhibiting abnormal behaviour or appearance. Instructions for submitting observations can be found above.
This data is useful in helping us to understand how disease prevalence, and therefore transmission risk, varies over space and time in urban wildlife populations. To learn more about eastern grey squirrel health and disease, click here.