Squirrel Caching 101
Squirrels are characteristically known for their ability to hide food and find it later, known as food caching. What we want to know is how squirrel diets and caching vary between locations; are city squirrels binging on bird seed and human food? Are they caching food as often as their country counterparts? Help us answer these questions and more!
If you see a squirrel having a snack or hiding one for later, we want to hear about it! Participate in our current research regarding the differences between urban and rural squirrel caching behaviour and diets by submitting observations here.
Sightings of Tagged Squirrels
Squirrels at our study sites will be assigned uniquely colour coded eartags. We ask the community to participate by submitting observations of tagged squirrels. These reports can be made right here on our site, or through twitter, using #citiscisquirrels.
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).
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 by email. We also encourage the community to submit observations of squirrels (tagged or untagged) exhibiting abnormal behaviour or appearance.
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.