Sciurus niger
(fox squirrel)

Image Caption:
A fox squirrel eats a honey locust seed pod (Gleditsia triacanthos), ripping open the frosted pod like the wrapping of a candy bar.   Although the seeds have an energy content of 18.1 kJ/g (Kendeigh et. al., 1965), compared to the 22 kJ/g energy content of an energy rich acorn species (Smith & Follimer, 1972), local squirrels seldom bother with this legume, instead spending their time eating sugar maple seeds, pine nuts, and occasionally buried acorns.  Squirrels have left most of the honey locust pods still hanging on the trees.

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Fox Squirrel (sciurus niger rufiventer) Eating Honey Locust Pod
Works Cited: 

Kendeigh, S. C., and West G. C.  (1965). Caloric Values of Plant Seeds Eaten by Birds.  Ecology, Vol. 46, No. 4 (Jul., 1965), pp. 553-555.

Smith, C. C. & Follimer, D.  (1972).  Food Preferences of Squirrels.  Ecological Society of America.  Vol. 53, No. 1, pp. 82-91. 

Image Location: United States, South Dakota, Brookings
Image Date: 2008DEC18
Image Species: Sciurus niger rufiventer
Tree Species: Gleditsia triacanthos
(EXIF infomation is accurate – stamped in UTC).

Web Page and Pictures By Hannah Leitheiser
Updated: 2009JAN01