Sciuridae
Sciurus niger
(fox squirrel)

Image Caption:
A fox squirrel buries a black walnut 
(Juglans nigra) after removing the husk and carrying the nut 460 meters (straight line distance) from the walnut tree.  In a study by Stapanian and Smith, each squirrel cached black walnuts from a single source in areas near their den tree (1978), so in this case, the pictured squirrel must have ranged almost half a kilometer from his den to find the walnut tree.  Although squirrels are good at finding buried nuts, some nuts will likely remain in the ground and sprout.  Like bees unintentionally pollinate plants in return for nectar, squirrels unintentionally propagate the forest in return for a winter food supply.

<<  Scatterhoarding Black Walnut   >>

Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger rufiventer) Eating Black Walnut (Juglans Nigra)

Works Cited:

Stapanian, M. & Smith, C. C.  (1978).  A Model for Seed Scatterhoarding: Coevolution of Fox Squirrels and Black Walnuts.  Ecology. 59:884-896.

Image Location: United States, South Dakota, Brookings
Image Date: 2009SEP20
Image Species:  Sciurus niger rufiventer
(EXIF Info is accurate – stamped in UTC).

Web Page and Pictures By Hannah Leitheiser
Updated: 2009SEP23