Order: Rodentia, Family: Sciuridae
Appearance/Behavior: This medium-sized (38 – 52 cm) squirrel has grayish fur with a white underside (blue arrow). Its long bushy tail (red arrow) bears a white fringe along its lower side
The gray squirrel is encountered both directly on the piles and in surrounding areas within the camera’s field of view. During the fall it appears to use the piles as sites for caching nuts. Frequently, another animal foraging directly on a pile will trigger an image, while a squirrel appears in the background. Images are occasionally captured where a squirrel is bounding across the frame or climbing a tree. Typical encounters involve a single individual, but sometimes pairs are seen.
Relative Frequency of Visitation in Study: Very frequent.
Seasonal Activity: Throughout the year.
Daily Activity: Strictly diurnal.
Similar Species: Provided with an unobstructed view, the general shape of a squirrel is fairly unmistakable. Another tree squirrel, the red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), is a smaller animal (27 – 38 cm) that occurs infrequently at the study site. We have no images of red squirrels visiting the compost piles. The gray squirrel’s larger size and lack of stripes set it apart from the chipmunk, a very infrequent pile visitor. The profile of a woodchuck sitting on its hindquarters resembles that of a gray squirrel. The woodchuck however is browner shade of gray.