Sciurus niger
(fox squirrel)

Image Caption:
A fox squirrel grooms his ‘friend.’  This activity is one form of amicable, or friendly, behavior.  Such behavior is most common among pairs of males and least common among pairs of females and is associated with communal nesting (Koprowski, 1996).  Because young squirrels seldom stay in their natal area (Koprowski, 1996), these animals are probably not related closely, meaning this behavior has little to do with kin selection.

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Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger rufiventer) Social Grooming (allogrooming).
Works Cited:

Koprowski, J. L.  (1996).  Natal Philopatry, Communal Nesting, and Kinship in Fox Squirrels and Gray Squirrels.  Journal of Mammalogy, Vol. 77, No. 4.  
(University of Arizona Link).

Image Location: United States, South Dakota, McCook County
Image Date: 2008DEC28
Image Species: Sciurus niger rufiventer
(EXIF Information is accurate – stamped in UTC).

Web Page and Pictures By Hannah Leitheiser
Updated: 2009JAN01