« The MeatEater Podcast

Ep. 259: The Squirrel Doctor Is In

2021-02-08 | 🔗

Steven Rinella talks with Dr. John Koprowski, Spencer NeuharthClay Newcomb, and Janis Putelis.

Topics discussed: Having a Phd in all things squirrels; what a squirrel has for a penis; when squirrel semen hardens into a waxy plug to prevent other squirrels from breeding; 45 male squirrels chase a single female for six hours; what the hell is a drey?; settling the score on testicle biting; how color phasing works; hitting the ground from 70 feet and shaking off the daze; freakish ways to die; how squirrel incisors never stop growing; eating your own young; being anal about managing your mushrooms; barking at anthing and everything, but especially each other; the stick trick; and more.


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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
The cast on a show was severely beaten. In my case, underwear was the meat eater podcast. You can't predict anything presented by an ex hunt creators of the most comprehensive digital mapping system for hunters download the hunt app from the itunes or google play store, know where you stand with annex on everybody. This is the most special podcast episode. We've ever had that's because we're joined by John lad. Is your middle name right, correct John lad, comprised capacity capacity got it, who has a genuine phd in squirrels. more specifically. What would you say? our conservation biologist, but I have
the work on squirrels. I appreciate the finer aspects of life, yet the smaller less obvious things. I've got to ask you to write off battle before we get into play as clay newcomers, a squirrel back home, your bomb, which will get into a minute, but am why Like did you know when you were when you were a little boy and people said your friends like I'm gonna, be a fireman, you're gonna be a squirrel expert at first it was center field or for the cleveland, indians and, while that seems out landis the indians were so bad. When I was young, the really realising that why not make a reasonable chance there, but soon after I knew I had to do something with wildlife and I up on the west side of cleveland, and he had pigeons Robbins
norway, rats and squirrels, and so it was like a wild life to cry area up- and it was my connection and my father- I grew up fishing, my father loved a fish. I live to fish. We go out at four in the morning I'd fish till about two than would drop me off on the drop me off sure I'd walk it. Looking first for squirrel, four turtles, anything that I could, and so that was my it was my connection when I came home to bear, look out the window and see something so I said the grudge live trapping squirrels from a young age then paint in their sides or somethin we got into that and we're low kids for awhile I'll try to get like our own mark and exactly the other paintings are closed, shut yeah! That's exactly what we do yeah if you were. If you went to my mom's house right now and went to her garage where the have a heart traps
sitting on a shelf. You would see that their slathered red paint from Boston, take a paint brush and do mark recapture projects on shipments. Or squirrels, easy, a tool to fool with a trap: What now we would do? Chipmunks we had the chipmunk size. Have arts you put too much effort into it. We thought it'd be cool if you could paint it and see him running around the yard and be like. Oh that's the one. You know why same childhood experience. We would catch him in habits. It's an end, squirt whatever I could on and then the neighbour started, plain it about the green square, all the red squirrel and so mom, and dad we're too thrilled about that part of it. But then I went to Wednesday of course it to university, and I was like oh, I can't we're to work on my lions, or you know Elk or something zabulon sakhalin. I go forward and I started my man.
sisters and got a call from a professor said: hey I've got this great squirrel project, ok, but my neck, degree, I'm working on polar bears, more wild, and I worked on squirrels again university, a kansas, And then now I'm working on a bunch of those other things, but they're just such a good way for people to connect you now to conservation devalue, you no value the kinds of places we value, and they tell us a lot about the quality of a forest. Severe a fire. Were there I allus, except there, just great indicators. I want with some couple squirrel myth questions go for it and I ask that we welcome buckling, little place back and good clay shaw. Zaire deal there now it has now taken place back. You'll know what those actually is bad I was actually unaware that
squirrels had ay ay a back a bone, penis the other day. I pulled this now. and that they do and most a whole lot of percentage will send. A mammals have em and it's just measured at steve- it's exactly a half an inch, and this is up. Is the standard grey Squirrel he appeared made be of average age maturity, so he's gotta he's got a he's, a that, that's girls, what upon an afghan two pounds grace errol most So he's gotta hat, so that's it every four sounds generously which goodness, but but described people what year like the shock of the irish people are homeless. The drive into work right now can't tell you how you're old describe what your old bright
you know if you saw this bone on the ground with say you know you found him own pile- and there was a squirrel the bone would be totally indiscernible in any recognisable shape. Adjust it kind, it's about as small as that a pencil lead and a number two pencil, the thickness of the it's a half inch long, the the tipp of the baculus fires out, which is pretty typical of all these. Bachelor of bears of coon's flares out at the end and towards them. Side, it's kind of the card is, all, but slightly you no kind of wine the back almost like a baseball bat That's! Ok! I show you John language. Now I'm a baseball bat! You supply my audience here before you to be a squirrel balance? Yes, I've decided little indiscernible bone,
John. Are you ask how schooled are you? Unlike physiology? Whatnot to go there and I really loved claes that description there. I thought your gonna, stop it just as little bone, but all this those components that you talked about are are: who are what make them that bone function, another name for it is the os penis, the penis mon, literally and so clay. Could you take a look in Does it look a little twisted? Usually there also a little cut of cork screwy. If here, if you look at There must be a limerick I used to know this was just a bit, I think for gray, squirrels, this? One still has a little bit of this was pretty fresh? That's not! I don't have clean totally fears almost like a thread like us in the end. It looks like
yeah I like a corkscrew. I see one kind of rib, he got it, that's so these are used as part of the squirrel report, The mating system of males form copy literary plugs, so when they copulate with a female they there. This cement hardens into a plug that tries to guarantee them their paternity. And while I don't that so that when once when you have a compilation with the female within just a few seconds, the seamen actually hardens into a waxy plug in the reproductive track and blocks other males from all up from breeding and. Oh, the corkscrew shape that that kind of bulbous head that you talked about that
actually helps remove the copy literary plug of the previous mail, and so, while It just kind of amazing detail in that. If you pick one bone in a squirrel, the vacuum is probably the place to go play, I you just you just see that whole mating system laid out right there do rodents, do that or is that exclusive to them? All all rodents have some form of a bacula. How did the but the plug part of the plug that it's, not something everyone's looked at in all rodents, but I think for all that well spend studied almost or it's been studied there. They ve been demonstrated like red squirrels. There is not really good evidence. that that red squarely find around here, there's not really get evidence that they form a cop military plug but, like the whole squirrel family, most of them rats and mice, do it as well? I hate that get a squirrel has to be lumped in with?
a rare and a mouse, and he collar wrote it I was sick about their with beavers man. above me out. The beaver rules are a road to cool, to be a road, but that scientific term rodin yeah, it's a whole order. So it's everything with those kind of eight or nine teeth for the most part. Rabbits are a whole different order, but somewhat closer related and got so roads, include beaver muskrat all the vote field, mice, rats. All of us scan and are really the copy bar cappy bar yup world's biggest road, yet you got it chinchilla chinchilla road chinchilla are bs. I was just going to say going back to the lab, but that this and plug and then the corkscrew back ya, it's
seems counterproductive, because if the seamen plug is designed to keep other males from a breeding of female successfully, but then you ve got an amateur anatomical feature that defeats it's the same and plug and it seems like you might as well like from of adaptive stew. And the point of a squirrel. It doesn't do you any good to have a semen plug or a corkscrew. Do you see what I'm saying it's our it's arms race, man and that's it? survival of the fittest? Yeah they get this feature, but then they ve got another feature that defeats the first feature pushes sword, is that you develop a? really like that year? Plug is the best plot, in the end, the field in your extractor. is like a phenomenal extracted. Sir, like I don't care, if you could hear if he plugged it I'm gonna, I got the best on blogger. throw some inherited nautile normal on blood
yeah. I want ass, an ecologist like I is theirs. Thing is the evolution like to go backwards neck would know because, because back It's for reason is evolving more despite italy, losing some traders, something that still evolutions out the evolution by going backwards, it still going forward no sure yeah well, and so that this is an incredible opportunity where you can just kind of sea. This battle right, so you say our right: we need more squirrels does it really matter? Who is the one that breeds who is the most sas full, but in this case you just that battle played out rightly talked about plug characteristics, How much sperm is in that you know is: it is trance transfer during that computation,
and then this removal tool that helps you be successful and the the thing, is it's not just the males where this is happening there simple males that mate with a female. He probably seen. One of these squirrel mating boats were usually the females only in heat for a short time. I'm on a single day, usually just like six or eight hours, so you'll get really yet and you'll get eight or ten females. I've seen as many as on earth with males chasing a female I've, seen as many as forty five gr eastern gray squirrels like the species that clay was just talking to forty five males chasen one in he female for six hours and the female that's the one tat time she gets to mate. So typically, it's too heard bandit. To meet with a number of males in rodents, and so after copulation the female.
actually will remove the copy latorre plug if it isn't embedded? far enough in her reproductive track and then she'll mate with the next mail. You know that's able again. How does she remove it? She just right. Inches down and, with her teeth, pulls out, you know rodents have those tube too big. upper incisors too big, lower incisors, like presumably, she can feel that seed properly early where it needs to be so retired. She mates shall actually groom herself in the mail will groom himself as well, and then there's look there's a few minute period. Four she'll be receptive again and dirt at the time, males were all attacking each other trying to gain access to the female, and then it during that grooming. If it's, if there is any plugs sticking out, she'll she'll, pull it out and throw it to the ground, sometimes even eat it. It's there's a lot of
a massive kind of waxy plug protein. How how does a male win about like this disease? email then select one or like what is what is a winning process like so, as this varies a little bit between different species in, but its typically start size and just the ability to continue to track the female males figure out that a females going to be in heat about five days in advance, and so they start during rainy season. Males are just roman, around figuring out a kind of the time, being of when some of their female neighbours are going to went to be receptive, and then before sunrise they're out there waiting for the for the female outside outsiders as those era yep and you'll get dozens. Sometimes you know, I end up in their fighting each other, not where, where were you, though, you had forty five males,
I worry that there's forty five grey squirrels in one like steven are going to go. Hunting they're telling you that's my secret spot, but is it a park or just no predator predict predators around here? So this was in lawrence Kansas, where I was doing my phd and so kind of open, parkland, pretty high city of animals and it was The other part of this is during the breeding season. One male start picking up that faint scent of a female that's coming close to to be in heat, they really expand the range and so for those five days, their fate. There me farther than they ever move the rest of the year, the rest, rest the year there in just a couple couple acres of their home range. But during Time will expand it five to ten times, and so
They are trying to find mates, and you know, be successful in the survival of the fittest battle that we're just talk about by just finding as many females it might be in in heat, so they come. We ve had males move, three or four miles during two to find a receptive female so the arcade are coming in from everywhere. So yet forty five coming in from you know, say as a square mile: you ve, seen where one squirrel has moved how many miles three to five miles from us home, during a meeting chase. I've seen a move about about three miles. I've, actually this How? How lonely? I am guys dumb during my phd. I would go out in the morning and follow male squirrels and see how far they went and why or just spoken of along so well at a great distance. I do I look scary, I'm a good do you you're volume with some sort of until
cheer up? This was the old fashioned way. It was in an open parkland. So I was just drive out with india heartland a little bit about like big oak and hickory forest, but because it was in a small town lords kansas it out. Grass, as you know, some some houses, even in that kind of and then the whole campus, which has suggested private actors and keep an eye on debt stated a distance. follow them around in an figured out how much I put miles and miles on is to be a much better shape back then followed and squirrels three mile Why one of my questions was? Is there such a thing as a rut tree, and I think you ve pretty much Third, it when we roll when we sometimes find like a tree where you like you, shoot one alone, behold, ten squirrels start You know german only talks about finding the rupture yeah, but so is one Female and nine males, they're just all work, and that's what it's just that I happened to be in that tree get treated, move not treat us move out,
but I bet you do you have to catch. It were its occurring in that tree, but is likely to drift to the next year to the next year as well as part of that that's her you're asking about what makes him successful the female. Doesn't she moving around two she's trying to feed that day and and and so she's moving out there in the forest and if the males get they're all fighting and that level of aggression there really hyped up and fell attack. Other another male tries to meet with the female. The males will try to interrupt it and so it's risky for her and in the mail, that's the one, that's the one day they after they have to be successful. The male ass to raise that letter now for the next few months and so she'll hole in a cavity in go in one of these. What we call leaf nasser raises cannibal, I suppose the word you disused, dray, drave Natalie. clay newcomb. You ever hear that word dray
I've seen it in the literature. I would not have use that word, but I've seen it written to argues network big time. How they spelled well depends if europe, if your britain she spelling d are eu. Why or d are a why so yeah you if you, if you really want to speak that I speak the language of squirrels, your dog has dns stuff, not gonna, be DR dre has to be sweet. Man do so do squirrels participate in grey squirrel bouts and vice versa, oh, it's just a single species. Add so HU there, but there is some confusion that can occur, and so I do. I've worked in areas where fox squirrels and gray squirrels both occurred, and you would and that for the case where there are forty, five great easter, gray, squirrels their work,
Will the fox squirrels that were attracted by the noise? Maybe like vaguely the scent, but they never really participated? You know it's there, there's enough difference between the species that it seem to get there and read. squirrels or even more kind of tax and taxonomically distant from fox squirrels, and grace were also there at that I've never seen any overlap. There do you Have you heard? I think we might ask about this Have you heard? Are you familiar The theory that the idea that people put out there that when males, are competing, though actually try to harm the, though like bite, the testicles of another mail. I, like you, ve familiar let this being an idea, people throw out there. I hear this all the time and who friend well from you from you, John, is the person I interviewed. Formerly article use one of my tea autobiography thrust things come and she just must come before we go here. I want to know, can you handle the truth,
the sun. I got you out here is also moment. I can that you'll. If you notice my line of questioning. I asked you: does it happen as it are you familiar and and I wanted then get into how far back in time like You heard this theory and where You feel that it, where do you feel, has come from. I almost fell: feet fell, pierced skilled interview, technique of sneaking into them. The us very delicious. I question while well and am also I listened to the podcast just last night. Where were you are discussing this previously and eat? who have had a relationship, that's kind of tenuous. I in this seem like something that really separate. Jaso, also think that there were two fight about that. Only the know about you as an insult me and my friend dodger witness. Well, so
I know people who said there are great grandfathers, told them that and I'm fit nine years old, so we're talkin like last century. You know people two centuries go lady teen hundreds. I know folks who ve heard that story and So it is something that's been passed along from. You know from generation to generation which is zero, zero evidence, zero evidence and mention following males for three miles. You don t. and see lots of things going on between. You know between different squirrels and never seen that they just did all the dirty tricks. So they take it in fights. They don't need to. They've got the you know the copula tory plug and the the bacula that you know that helps them in that battle. But What happens if what does happen, and so you ve hit on something that's kind of unique about road and biology
you can see why someone thinks that they have an animal that doesn't have any testicles, because it the seasonal cycle in roads and squirrel. Was during the breeding season that the testes descent, into into the scrotum and in large produce sperm and they are ready to get ready to mate day after day for sometimes two or three months, so there really functional then, but then during an on breeding season there. They move back into the abdomen up. now and in they're kind of held in the abdomen, and they get really really small to you. You would have to do. You're just cutting the squirrel you're not, we are going notice, no good have to really look and see it so justice, natural natural pattern. and this girl doesn't itself to sort of just shrivels up in this becomes
belly scanning it out and it looks like belly skin you'll see if, if you ve got an older male you'll see that their that takes on a darker pigment Annie, can see where the scrotum was and if you can spread the hairs little bit, you'll notice that our right, you know that this is. You can tell an adult male because of that juvenile nails will not have a pigmented scrotum and then once they'd gone through breeding season or two it gets dark and you could tell hey disguise bread before, but it just it. Will you wouldn't notice that this was even a male? If you were just watching him, you know from a distance with binoculars or something Do you do believe in school? migrations that true, that historically massive squirrel. My since, and I think I can see like like concerted. no limits or their like all. The schools are moving in that direction. Now, ok now The law
slow using the word migration that there have been historical report and even relatively recently. I was getting reports two or three years ago and eastern you ass of following master yours so master? You know acorns primary really hickory some of those things and when you get failure, it's often arise. general failure, and especially if you're looking at in a force that aren't super, diverse and they're. Just you know, along stand of just a cup, a species of it's a bad year than with their their reports of litter. tens of thousands of animals swimming across the ohio river to get into kentucky swimming across the great lakes, leaving summit? Some of the more recent reports of these kind of large scale movements are sought in lake michigan and I think lake superior coming off of island.
Where you ve had a failure amassed in all those relating to the mainland chap no they won't ask about back to reproduction is what is the timing of the squirrel run right now, perfect time? These so right now that the squirrel rights starting it begins. sometimes even the late december candid depends what where you are in art in a country but like the heartland of the country go back to, Miss again or ohio, where, where we're from Steve are starting right about now, you'll be seeing these mating chases arouse talkin about and for many things many species like eastern, squirrels and the fat and fox squirrels the two most common species around the country,
those will have a second reproductive seas and during the summer also and so, there's kind of two peaks and that when during those times are one males squirrel testes that kind of real obvious case. You know that it's that its breeding season so than most females kick off two letters annually they can females in good condition, will pull off to two letters, most often that the average female usually pulls off wandering those times and if, if you have a late spring frost that knocks bad so they're breeding now and in places with deciduous forests that d, the food Crop is still not really determined so, if you're, just gonna start getting leave start in a pop out in that kind of thing, if you have a late bring frost and all that gets not back, often female,
files will absorb their litter and not produce that first breeding season and then Adele they'll be in better shape and reproduce during that second season, but some really some older females and females and good dish and he had a good. You know mass crop the previous year and there they fattened up over winner, They are ready to go in and in really good breeding condition. You'll get a couple. A litter stopped they'll be how to pull off during mass failure. Nobody will reproduce sometimes and you'll have no reproduction in a given and with the average letter and then a great litter size. usually about three so too, the three and a half his average for most most tree squirrels, add the records our kind of eight or nine de which- which sources you believe, but their publish records of seven eight nine, I'd squirrels ground, squirrels havel have
larger letters typically, but most of the tree squirrels are kind of in that. Three animals to have three animals that half animals always difficult difficult account yeah, what's been your relationship with thumb, squirrel hunters and squirrel hunting. I do That's where most of europe of the sort of popular in in your work comes from. Where do you find it more and more from wildlife observers? That's the great thing Squirrels I mean it's kind of across the board. It's one of the things to me. You know that the real, I'm doing what I do, and wildlife conservation is to bring people together to save these kinds of opportunities in a key. wild and working lance. You know for future generations and Squirrels are one of those species that you can. You know can bring everyone together, sure there's a case
squirrel hater because their bird feeders being attacked by you know that's just the cost of having a bird feeder it. I have A number of folks who are very interested because, just like I mention, went and when I grew up, it was the connection that someone has with the with the natural world and an in our squirrel hunters also, it's a connection they have with the natural world and then you don't have any animosity to squirrel hunters out. No, I I've hunted squirrels I've. I've eaten squirrels every time, My brother laws house he's gotta a different squirrel recipe for me to try You never feel bad about it. There is no one moment, perhaps you know, but then, if if it's well cooked, of course, I don't feel bad about Can you explain? Can you talk a little bit about how the the their phases work with with the eastern graceful
I find there is like endless confusion about its black squirrel, grey squirrel, these be allowed a black squirrels now's, all gray squirrels like which is true it like, shifts overtime does watch my mom's yard. You, like most grace, walls are black than this like a while later, like most grace, grocer grey was gonna, so they're all grace, world not you know to someone who is interested in canada, taxonomy plastic, asian draw gray squirrels there that species they can enter breed, the eastern, very eastern, the western grey. He doesn't have a black phase right. There just spend a couple of cases of an It most species she's. You have this rare, these rare occurrences of melodic forms than in others, forms and that also summum album stake- or just you know, forms that are that or some of them
myths gone, so they'll be some kind of something in between or are mostly white, but not completely, but yachts. Just dead just like hair color, I color in humans. It's it's all due to genetics and they so I'm guessing your mom lives in in Michigan starts right. So once you start getting north far enough. The black forms become more common and that actually has a physiological advantage. Is how do you like with heat, yep, that's exactly as they absorb he better. Yet, that's it. So they advantages during winter. During the summer people done fifteen. Ology item doesn't make a difference. They, the elder they're, both color more of sadness in a kind of same metabolic cost during the winter. The ability to absorb and retain heat and that black color and are we ve all? If you want a shining like a mountain splay out unnaturally, that's ok, son out exactly
it's usually in the winter and the first thing they do in the morning. They come out of the nest and just lay flat warm up and and and then start their day, while the black forms have an energetic vantage and when you're on that kind of razors edge of you know, do I have enough energy to survive. To produce offs you know any little advantage with something that could be capitalized answer toronto. Southern ontario lots a black hole, morphs. But if you go down to easter gray, squirrels get all the way down to the floor. To keep its south florida close. The florida keys black forms are are hardly ever. and down there zero. Now kid can one litter have. Full on like fuller, gray and full on black ones, yet that that we just talk to me We started off talking about the mating system, multiple fathers for a single litter,
and so you ve got that possibility and then just the herod ability people are still working out. How that black color morph, how dominated is, and in that kind of thing, but typically that melodic form we do know that it is a dominant more if so it if its. If that gene is present. Then you're going to get the production of lots of black pigment gotta be dark individuals, so you can have. You can have mixed. years of mixed coloration, usually that kind of grizzled gray color that you're familiar with and then the the black morph guys I'll go I'll, go on for three hours. Man, you got you wanna throw one in there. So I I read from an aerospace engineer once that squirrels can survive a fall from any re noble distance like any height of any building. What's like the furthest, you ve seen one fallen and live. I've seen
false seventy feet and hit the ground then just get up In are always a little dazed they're, always a little dazed when they hit the ground did so sk usable in it it just like you. If you fell, you know usually see I'm kind of shake their head blinked their eyes. If you type seventy visa seventy feet and doesn't shatter evna bones, I got there not like they got like than up air resistance at an that's it. It's kind of a surface area volume. You know the people of people said no one is experimentally. Looked at this, but Do you know that a mouse could fall off the empire, state, building and instills and survive that fall? It aware a squirrel with its side When they ve calculated it, they wouldn't be able to survive a fall that far, but during those mating chases. I mentioned all that aggression males do not sit there passively. When you ve got to know tat. teen forty five males, they'll knock each other.
the trees all the time- and you know It- sets their competitor back a little bit. But I've see I've seen a fall in of seventy feet and hit the ground. they they shake around a little bit. You know their stand for a few minutes and then they're they're back at it during those. Cases somewhat. What was going out of the seventy foot fall, so they were top of a large tree. Male and female were populating, and another mail and knocked a whole thought the tree the female is able to hold on to the tree. The male fell seventy feet and you know he went from you know, thinking that he was going to be successful, that day to all and trying to work his way back in wait and lie about a light of way. Back so have you ever seen, one die from a fallen nope, but people looked at looked at skeletons in museums to look for breakage along bones in that kind of thing, and not surprise,
using Lee us somewhere from five to ten percent of the animals have broken longboats. So they made sustained some damage on those falls. You know those broken log boats could have come from lots of things, but you know they there's some evidence that, may maybe you know they they do. You know take on some some real physical damage to weave come across dead squirrels laying inexplicably on the forest floor is exactly my question deduced with for no reason whatsoever that they must have fallen well yeah. He might be an impossible question to answer, but yeah you're like we've, it's probably been the same. Grow a couple times by know that this was my kids. into the woods squirrel hunting and there is a perfectly fine looking square, not eaten naughty. No claw marks, no talent marks No twenty two hole in it I mean- looks fresh as a daisy like you'd, almost one. I just put it in your game pouch and take it home, but you don't
because you don't know what killed it so couple a things, often when you find those animals in any actually feel skinned about and looked you'd see that their as a talent, wakeham and the at the end. You know the hawk, or the owl ended up, losing it sometimes thou fight over each other so We ve had a number of times where or I'll get an animal I'll say. Others absolutely absolutely. No reason this animal die and when you skin it out, you just see. As you know, that you can see where the talent marks were so it's possible that us that hate to go back to squirrel may systems again but another we're gonna go there. So, where I have seen, animals fall dead was that door. the breeding season. Those males are getting up early every morning, go out trying to meet with Males during the day then try figure out when the next females going to be in heat and in our planet,
the of of activity and when you do that for forty fifty sixty days, males are often in horrific condition and their fighting each other. So we ve had I've. Probably a dozen animals that have their way up in the morning and fall dead to the ground. Yeah and you will just find him they'll, look like earlier malnourished, yet they're, just malnourished skin about Do any crops? The item and you'll see often fifteen twenty puncture. Arcs from other males that incisors, where they beat each other up and then nobody fat items. So you know there, given it they're all in know and and no spar survival, the fittest if they made it, some females in that they ve done they need to do for that year. But so I have come across the male squirrels like that on the ground, and they have and have watched him fall out of fear
out of a enough from it a Dan first thing in the morning or early in the morning, Just distempered Ella had enough energy to dig to continue to move you're out that determines house is a body bars wisconsin deer hunting, one time and I heard a noise. like the most you when recognise those a mink. They have a very high pitched like like this type just squeal when their agitated there's a mink, try I aim to gain entrance in HU, a squirrel hole and there is a squirrel fightin, like the dickens to keep him out of the hole and eventually the mink gains entrance into the hole, and I never heard another peep and never saw that might come out. It's got a lot of food for a while like when in air. I don't really know what it feels like he went and their killed
thing and then the settled in I'm sure that's the case. They there may have been more than one squirrel in their most squirrels aspire. During the winter yo you'll get groups of, especially female square, was eastern gray squirrels are actually really highly social sybil be sub. Generations living together of females In the day there out you, you won't see em in groups, but that night they all come back, and it's that same instead of a predator get in its another squirrel trying to get back into that nest, you know the as each other body heat that gives The advantage so you'll see multiple animals, I've seen nesting groups. I think I think the largest I've seen as fourteen related fee, else together in an asked and then males will get together and ness and they're not based on relief relatedness, so you'll sometimes find eight or ten
males in the coldest nights nesting together and that first thing in the morning they take off yes, but that's it. Finally, equality nest that they can defend from inside is one of the biggest resources in a way, I think, a food in That kind of thing, but those quality, dance you get in big old trees are huge for these. These groups are related animal. So when we think about managing forests, retaining some of those big old trees in o becomes really important too to quality worst manfred outside Sonia, to write a paper on. Two years ago I was hunting squirrels in brodie. Henderson was there. He can back me up on this. We are hunting squirrels and we got a bad hit on a fox squirrel. he goes into a whole cottonwood tree, but then fight ensues and another squirrel kicks him out of the hole, fought him back out in any one of them.
While I'm glad call there are a lot, I call that paper how? How would you name a paper like that? Steve is a poor shot elicits the assistance of vessels We have thing I have a finger here. You know just recently sent us a paper. Were a guy got a publication off of the fact it they got a publication off of the dead We can set up, and Jaguar came and drank from the hollow leaves and also our homes and drinks, the jag. our kills the ocelot and this guy. scientific publication out of it, which is observation, and then you like her so do you feel that you could publish this peace? Well,
With that attitude, with the I became as long as we can put the steve as import poor shot bell again that our aid or say I could be the first line of the actual, but those eyes of rare observations are really critical us. I know some. Some scientists get a little snobby about oh sample size and things like that and for some things we obviously wanna have enough sample size. So we, you know we can make rigorous management decisions and conserve species, but for these really rare events to me. It's really important to get that information out, and so I am all for those kinds of kinds of publications myself I did. I say that jaguar ocelot thing to my brother, whose ecologist He thought it was interesting, but he felt that in that article that talking about the that this was possibly some
to do with climate change. He felt a thousand was a little too far off. That's a little, so it's important it by these things. But I understand the significance more chance. John I've gotta I've got a for you about something that I read and it was a research project and has actually tenant between night. In thirty nine and nineteen forty, three sky was studying squirrel populations in illinois, the high a world war two yeah in the height of american authorities. What could thinking about here, the height of american squirrel hunting? Do he said that The earliest they saw a female squirrel. Come into. Estralla was december, eleventh in the latest that they saw female squirrel come in was Jean where twenty seventh year for the
winter rat, and he was real clear that there were two breeding cycles, especially with older females, and he get. Said that does that from northern illinois to southern illinois. There was a ten to fort seen day delay like southern illinois. Squirrels came in the brain those was the northern ill noise, and I just saw that parallel. I guess, with a lot of mammals, that our the breeding cycles of the north are gonna be later, so that that this spring survival is better because happens later in the spring, but I'm just going to say I care in arkansas. If you were to ask just the squirrel one down, the road was squirrel rat they'd, say early december. You know that how what they would say Like I heard you talking about michigan, be in. Is it later John up their correct. It's a little bit later up there and it
Chile varies between species a little bit if you have both gray and fox squirrels. Fox squirrels usually are a week to ten days earlier, not really sure why that is, but that's kind of a widespread pattern and they'll start a little bit earlier in december, and I you you hit on play that that the farther you go north. There usually a little bit delayed and that all make sense right. Reproduction is all about Reducing young those young. You want them to emerge when all those buds or common out on the spring on the spring trees, so that the females gonna be in in good condition, while she's produce and milk cause that the most energetic the costly event for a female mammal is lactation, not pregnancy, pregnancies, costly, but trying to nurse those young for and produce all that protein- and you know fat, rich milk, that takes energy and so the
timing of these things are really critical, and so, as you go, a little further north springs come in a little bit later and you're gonna see that that that change in the timing, you're right on the money clay I asked a veteran guy veteran squirrel hunter here in our concern that the das, what's the toughest tom a year to squirrel, hunt and he said late january, because the females are dinning and not leave in their nests. Much much of you is research on the movement of male in females during that time of year, because it is really tough right now and it it, and he said it's because they're din and up there close to their nest their their den trees is. That is that about right. Well, if we eliminate poor squirrel hunting from this, then, what exact order ox ogg sector, so your daddy radio. So the females have gone through,
reproduced already now there in other pregnant and so a whole up? They don't they're, not using much energy, though usually go out for literally just an hour or two a day feed you know, eat whatever, not they can and then go back in the males. Though it's to its usual, still the end of the breeding season, and there still roaming around and they start ranging even more widely trying to find you know one last females that might still be available, so you got your your basically trying to hunt. Half the you know: half the population now being his females are hold up. and, unless you no word Dan is you know where the female becoming out here. You're, not even get to see them very much during during that time. So yet you nailed it yeah those interested in you brought about the law. Activation take. So much energy, because in people there I. Pure. The whole lot of wild pigs will say the best what wild pig
The best condition is pregnant south, and I saw that like did, though be fatty. And was my. How could that be because how's, it not so taxing. to produce it and say the worst pig is a nursing sal. yeah. I just get like suck dry. That's that's exactly it If milk is really expensive to produce, and so typically they're putting everything in to just produce and as quality an offspring as possible, given them the best start in life and so with with female squirrels. They won't even the the second most energetically, expensive part of their life, is changing their passage. You know moulting their fur and grow a new for it's all. Protein right have a bunch of it's protein, that's costly! They don't do that until after the finnish nursing their young zeal see these really raggedy lookin females late in the spring, I get calls where someone like, oh there's, some kind of feed.
horrific disease, go at the squirrels, you know, look all mangy and mages enow can be a problem, but it's. If they're just females who are given everything they can to their offspring and sell their produce at producing that milk, and if you look at fat stores of females at the end of nursing, there's no fat, store, just just like males, are invest in everything in those breeding seasons- and I mentioned some of I'm dying because they be no don't have any they're just so malnourished. That's exactly what you can see with females at that kind of end of I think you're right. I got a double question for you. red law like what normally kills squirrels like from private from a predatory standpoint And then what are some of the freakish things you ve seen. So usually avian predators, hawks an owls, are the number one predator.
You start getting anti things like you know, foxes and bob cats also take a large number of em catch him off the ground at them off the ground. Much harder. Obviously you know they squirrels can get into the trees pretty quickly but raptors nail them raptors and some of the studies we ve done. Raptors account for eighty sent the mortality of red squirrels and then the remaining twenty percent of predation events are from foxes. Bobcats. That kind of thing but when there in those I mentioned that the net necessity of those quality dan cavities and not being part of you no kind of good forest management, if you don't have a clue the den cavity lots of things can get in, raccoons will will come in and you know, eat a whole litter an ant or a group of these nesting adults that are in there. You mentioned to make you know being able to get in.
we'll see crows kroes will go into those nasty crows. Actually, the leaf ass. The days that we are talking about those piles kind of a basque, all size ball of leaves up in the trees kroes will fly from tree to tree from from frida tree looking at those ness and trying to pull out squirrels from within rat, some raptors will do that is well, but go for snakes. Bull snakes will If there is a really cool study to show they actually, I will climb trees that have, those leaf nelson in there more than now climb trees without them now, and they go in here nurse smells the activity at the base of the tree could be Usually, though squirrels they come in from, they don't come from the bottom up into their nest, necessary they're, usually coming in from the canopy. That's something should talk about is some of the kind of subtle sent. Communication goes on between squirrels, but
so snakes are our great ness predators as well, but there are some incredible record's doc it'll a lot like the jaguar and ocelot that you are talking about. They been reported in the stomachs a bull frogs. That's that's a big bullfrog and a small squirrel buddy and a bed and our large mouth bass and pluck them off of tree branches. So there are a couple of reports of you know: seeing a bass come out a squirrel. You know eating. You know in this idyllic setting you can imagine the you know the bambi music in the background and then shop out out leaps this a this large mouth bass, so you know there. anything that in other nice chunk of meet. Anyone can anything that can get of minsk. There's gonna go for. I had read that squirrels like all road into their teeth? Never sab growing, so they have to grind them down and if they don't
they'll grow under their skull and kill them? Is that so Then you ve ever like witnessed or seen yet so you're so you're partially right. They cheat teeth. Don't the mowers don't grow there, not everlastingly actually can aid squirrels by looking at their teeth. So, if you're out their hunting- and you know you can't you younger the year, it'll, look like a kid smoulders in only a human child, smaller where you can see every little nook and cranny, but they get morn down, and I say it again or to really old animals. You'll see those teeth, worn down the gum line. Just like half a finger was in europe should probably is talking about dear aging numerous times, but the eu, can do the same thing with squirrels, add but the insight. Answers are ever growing it and that's really them in the business and the squirrel, if they can't nigh into things, then you know they're not going to be survive, so those are ever growing and it you know. If you take a look at em, they ve got.
kind of orange, yellow part that you'll see looking and had on at a squirrel. That is harder than that. The white paper then that's behind in that. So they sharp into a wonderful point that you know then and they're able to open a hickory or or walnut and so occasionally those will get offline, they they rub up against each other in a kind of vienna. Just like you would sharpen your knife, that's essentially, what's going on with each each bite that the squirrels taking but if they're injured. You know in a fall in a battle, whatever you know cause some entry. Get off line. That's where you see these things girl back, and they got that A wonderful circular, shape that helps with the self sharpening. But if the off line. That means circles right back and usually hits the eye or something like that. So
If they're not able to know the things you know, they're going to be weakened condition, and so you don't see it very often, but I e do occasionally get an animal that survive long enough and still it. You know, still able to get enough food to be able to see that a death. That's a result of that that man What collusion today use those teeth dear, like kill little animals with, since they that's right that the excellent point they are there. There are ever ass. They will eat lots of insects, they'll eat. You know other dallied small mammals, but there also are cannibalistic at times and though we ve there are none, of cases in some ground squirrels, like prairie dogs. There actually in and aside, although they'll kill other young now go in the bird, of their sister and kill her young, to give the advantage to the that individuals
only on entry squirrels, We ve seen them, kill birds that they'll frequently birds there are no red. Squirrels are kind of really nasty egg predators and nestling birds, most most ornithologists, that there's a group that will hate squirrels, perhaps because of the day the nest predation that that they have, but we have even seen cases where were they won't? They haven't killed the individual like that threat. or times my career. I've seen a young animal, just learning a kind of walk and hold? I knew a tree fall to its death, and so we talked about a dull animals survival juveniles that don't have the muscles too, and probably the balance yet now followed their death
watch the mother go down check the individual bump. It a few times realise that its dead and then literally pick the animal up and they start eating the brain and the knave me now move on to other tasty pets of their own offspring that they were Just nursing up in the tree may be that morning and be known now: they're they're they're going for they switched carnivorous, that's called be illegal, upright mrs Mann, out. That's like really solve that like, while they invested a lot in that aspirin life life gives eleventh, etc. When I was, then middle school. I had friend that was at like this city park and he saw a squirrel get hit on the road. For whatever reason he wound picks up the squirrel and the thing you know, we're talking about squirrel teeth, now sharp they are, and the squirrel bites him right in that way
being between the thumb and its partner finger, just nails them deep into the me right. There You like shakes the squirrel off his hand and he his tendons in his hand, and he had a major reconstructive surgery in his hand still no longer backdrop again: oh yeah yeah I think about that when we had taken one up, that's half love. I've had a bite through my thumbnail before, so that they can all the way the bone instantly. That story that you just mention clay I would is my first time ever in arizona was driving along, and I wanted to see an a squirrel attacks. Leered squirrel, if you guys have seen, amazing superheroes network and we are driving along. I hadn't seen one yet just north of flagstaff, and I
Just turn to my wife- and I can't believe you know- squirrel biologist hasn't been able to see one of these and I'm driving along and literally right One runs out from the ponderous pine forest and I hit it had so, unlike crap What what do you do? You want see it and to like, while here it's now donated its body to science and I had a collecting permit, so I could legally go back and pick it up so turn around pull over added. just kind of a narrow two lane road with forest right there side to pull over probably couple hundred yards away. I'm walking walking along almost up on it. In this winter, go drives over and as it that's action as it goes over. You see the tale flip up a kind of thought. The body also popped up a little bit and
so I go running up not wanting to you not to be hit by another car. So I have a good carcass and I go to grab it in it jumps up, runs off the road and does that just like the fall? in squirrel that we talked about before climbed up a tree. Sits there just keeps trying to shake it off and So I got a really good look at the at the squirrel, but it turns out that that's that's act, we really common what squirrels do and there the winner going to be attacked right if you're gettin attacked by a hockey jump first and then, then you hit the ground and start run and that works really well, if there's a hawk coming anoura fox, but it doesn't work well. If there's a shabby minivan in ireland that strong and over you jump right up, and so they often just knocked themselves out under carriage and their men get hit. The you know by the next car that comes by but yeah I've
I almost had that same experience, myself. Gay, he's got a zap us questions. I guess duties far away real before we get off what kills them. What's just average lifespan average life span, if they, if you start from when their born or just talk in a little over a year. Very few animals make it to adulthood once they reach that first year, which is when they they can start reproducing. Typically, some I'm a little bit earlier here, you're looking at two and a half to three years is kind of a good lifetime, If you're looking at pet animals, theyve red squirrels squirrels gray, squirrels of all bend people had him for about twenty years, so they can even live that long in some of our studies where we ve monitored, animals are known age, furred decade or more. We ve had animals get too about ten years in the wild and maybe a little bit more some species, little bit less
for small small mammal, you think you know, isn't gonna, Latvia is gonna, live very long. They actually once they figured out once they have that den once they do. You know her oh, where their food is actually and their wary enough predators. They they actually can survive pretty law. Did you like the ones I have highlighted the ones that are had under my name there under your name and I added a couple deuces in urban centres will the crocodiles, starlight all round section under Janius. I stumbled across at section under yon his name in my document sorry about how they stash startup in my that whole process in suspense was yet a follow up there too about us about stash How do you know where you were? You involve net study? Everything got all excited about, but whether they could remember where they put their nuts are not well. I've been part of a couple of study, that happens well so cup,
different strategies that that you're looking at if you're talking about red, squirrels or douglas, whirls out here and now in the west. Mostly, there we call larder hoarders, so you ve come across, I'm sure here Both men, you come across their what we call maidens these big pile cone scales that they actually barrymore codes in, though are those maidens, those common scale. Piles are effectively or fridge rate or for the squirrel they keep their. They bury cones from subsequent years in there and we ve actually studied the political temperature transmitters and and studied that that they function just like a refrigerator. Does the cones don't open if the common scales open seeds fall out, anything can eat em. If they stay closed mostly just squirrels can can eat them. So by keeping him in the refrigerator. Now you know
It doesn't spoil so that strategy works really. Well, with pine codes and and in places where there are lots of coniferous tree, but it's but it's those mids are also just the result of them just sitting in the same tree on the same branch and just tune on pine cones. Until later. often how these things start. The appeal have either you have a treaty got lots of lots of cones there in a good year the animals start, feeding there and you get a little bit of a pile and then a juvenile squirrel, that's trying to find a place to live off. It starts with that place. Start varies a few cones there talks a few in a log in and keeps eating and building these piles. Sometimes I get three or four feet high. Kind of the size of a baseball, pitchers mound and their their typically a huge resource. She could imagine and our refrigerator that's. You know already proven itself in previous years that becomes like a huge resource,
there passed on from generation to generation, we followed maiden said, have been occupied by squirrels continuously for thirty years. Forty years, not the same well, you know just as soon as one one dies and other one moves and soon is sometimes when we're doing some of our life capture studies and markham even when the animal gets in the trap, the neighbour realises hey, I can go steal a few cones, so we have to check these live trap somewhat. Animals go quickly because the neighbour comes upfront, start steel and cones right away. so that that's a strategy. It works really well with pine cones out here, and it puts it in that the red squirrel that we have around here and bows man, our territorial, so that's their whole life- is packed into one of these maidens everything. That's gonna, enable and survive. This winter is found their accession. As don't hibernate and
there, the relying on stored fat and then, whatever pine cones, dave that they ve saved. So territorial and pile on them in one place works here yet other strategy, you see in more depth and assiduous forest typically with fox squirrels and eastern gray squirrels predominantly here in the u s, they did their scatter hoarders rather than pile em, all in one place where they can defend them and it's just theirs. you may last for a long time, is your refrigerators working with things like a car, since they spoil relatively quickly and tons of things can eat acorns right in Alice deciduous force in those good years. You got Turk dear every small mammal, some other crows and some other kind of a good sized birds will well edam besides squirrels, so they take a different strategy. Dna scatter them out, so they actually go under a tree that has a concentrate
one of them- and they see them out and so that reduces the the risk of other things eating them, but the problem is: how do you find them again and so it turns out that part of its memory. Part of it is a strategy that they had. No, this is their general area. So there's it's not it's not territorial! Where just IX so views they will, but they tend to bear. Them in the same general area, so ask a squirrel. goes back to that area uses its memory to say, hey. over here in I, I know, I buried buried some nuts, you know, if you think he s like this from a from a person but they actually find them typically knots, only by memory, it's the smell. They ve got an incredible sense of smell
I cite just okay but their sense of smell. They d been shown to be able to find a nut three or four feet under the snow I smell, smells coming up out of there, so it gets there. You know it says: okay, this general spot. I know I buried them, and that makes sense. If you you know it looks a lot different with three feet of snow we've. All you know been hiking in a forest and said you know a note notice how for it looks in the winter. So memory alone, you know that log now is covered up, and you know that even parts of that treaty- covered up, so they go in and they they smell through three or four feet: a snow dope. They'll pick up. That said, I, two related questions you want is, do they ever stash meat and then the other one is. Can you explain, deceptive caching and have you ever witnessed it I'll? Take the first one. Yes, you are correct. Steve
you got your problem, you the the year, I think your field has created, don't say red square I'm all about solutions like a railway problem, git sponge red squirrel from year vocabulary. Pines grow pine square. Unless there's a problem there, because I find like a body From Missouri who knowledge michigan and he calls fox girls, red squirrels that not a any damage has read like us just to clean up. Was it listen with him? I'm like pine squirrels, which he's not accustomed to acceding grow up with them. mikey pine squirrels. Once you live in a place of pine, squirrels, dont, say red squirrels because gets mixed up I feel like nationally binds assign all these executive orders. I think you, add that in a clean that up
there's a question. I read a paper one time where they are doing a study, a mortality study in Alberta, Berta lever, it's so Baby snowshoe hares and they would find the more of the dead ones in pine squirrel, maidens and our add quickly. that I have seen were. Grizzly bears, dig up in red, mittens come back out now, Ok, so first, I'm gonna go with your pine squirrel suggested. While I am incredibly appreciative of of your suggestion to their there and will take it into consideration. Are a long clarity, so red squirrels? And I said red squirrel, sir: in the eastern you asked you find him in deciduous for southern, even pines around. He can find red squirrel supplies girl. Well
the emperor or emperor emperor penguins that it's still it's still a red squirrel too. So I doubt having grown up in a big west, lots of people call fox Let's go you other edwards, yet in their orange right. yeah right of squirrels, so let's go with orange squirrels will all talked it to Joe Biden and see if he I don't get in there myself signed executive, eleanor orange born squirrel or its rules. So those the maidens that you talked about in that we ve kind of disgusted. refrigerator the refrigerator for more than just just cones Del squirrels will put mushrooms in there and they will stormy, so I found chipmunks and lover its bed, it we found them buried in cash within the
those cones gale piles. It's kind of risky, though, has lots of things eat meat, so work more frequently. What they do is they. They hang them up in the trees they hang mushrooms the trees, but they hang at my son s, man riding over. That was it it's always layer which stuff man, muskrats ersite mushroom entries up yet lakes one put it there now kid so that their put him up there and they re actually manage them. So you guys of sea in red squirrels, you know they just their constantly running back and forth, protecting this pile in that the maiden and there there also is in our anal about managing their there. Forums they will just pick. Em up and move them around the sun in a sunny side of the tree. They'll put them there to dry out a little bit and they'll move them back, but they do the same thing with little rabbits as well. So we've.
I've seen them a few times. Kill, kill rabbits, but the first time that we came across this, probably twenty years ago, when I first moved arizona, I'm looking up- and I think that there is a squirrel in this tree above me- cause there's a big dark blob, be no kind of backlog. And this kind of below in the wind a little bits? I thought it was its tail and how is it? It was a small rabbit that had been hung up. They're probably did to dry No, you gotta make good jerky through in a uniform manner. Now winter long s great it so amazing, the next question, was about deceptive cashing. Can you explain it and have you witnessed it so this goes at that, scatter hoarding you're, not that these not around right you're, trying to spread out a resource. That's concentrated under one tree, and you want to end up with as much as possible so there are banned a few case
is that I've seen and it's been reported a little bit in the literature that score. Girls will do the head, fake and in and end fake, cashing things, I've seen them pick up like a rock put it dig a little hole drop in move, move a leaf over it and then go back and in a grab a corn and bury it somewhere else, and so there there is. This thought that it makes sense this is such a competitive. If you don't get enough energy you're gonna die over winner, so every little advantage in oh can can play out. So we ve seen that and we think that its due to different squirrels, what in our china trying to be desired? dave but because squirrels can smell so well. You know that problem
isn't a great technique solely to to reduce predaceous seed camp, a competition from other sea predators, but for birds that typically words can't smell. You know there are a few that do you spell, but most birds can't so they by going in and faking here's where I'm burying this, where I'm cashing this this seed of a bird is not going there they're going by those visual cues and hate. Is you know that squirrels burying nuts over here I'm going to go check it out and bounce around till? I can find one and so we think that it actually may be more advantageous for that kind of competition than within your own species. Where you know you can you can pick up the smell of a nut much more easily? I watched one dunno if it was doing a deceptive gash or if he just wasn't happy with his first spot. By, as I was quite surprised to find, I was
Maybe a hundred foot sort of no knob in oak forests in wisconsin, but a solid hundred yards from the nearest star Of course, I'm standing there just observing in upper upon this no paths, a squirrel with leads to half a chorus of its mouth run. Long. Some logs goes to the as it down digs what I thought was a pre like prison effort and making a whole means talking about a half a corner, gob and then just leaves picks up is going, are, you know, goes ten feet farther and then stashed it in their quota. Two things: well, the biggest thing that struck me is that how far he had gone to go get get that I'm guessing the caloric value of what he was dashing was worth that trouble and putting him away, but my that what you said earlier the question you cute. I might like near the same tree like how big
stash zone for a squirrel, so it can be that size of their home range. The area that there are roaming really varies on the kind of the quality of the forests, If you're in a really poor forest got arrange more widely and sewed does. That their bearing them in o varies by those kinds of conditions, but typically you're, looking at the whole and your most squirrels is kind of a football field or to or talk in just a couple of acres and You are. Although males during the breeding season, rome, you know fifteen twenty times, sometimes more than that at an eight, but within that they typically will they all they'll bury. If you're talking out in an oak forest, though bury them in kind of constant. raided areas, but they also you know It'S- it's energetically, costly. If you're going to grab a corn
You know if you have to run a mile to bury it you're, not gonna. Do you know that that pigs no energetic sense, so they typically don't go? very far, but their spreading out, sometimes hundreds of yards away from the tree It's actually kind of the thought to be that's to the advantage of the tree. The acorn fall straight down. Now, it's you know its parent tree is the competitor. sunlight and water, but giving us nice, tasty TED bed that a squirrels gonna take out and bury you know, is that really the advantage, the trees? Looking for out of the deal, so we have seen them there. They there, no When you get a walnut tree, that's in fruit! You can actually smell it. If you're, if you're out there the squirrels are known to come from a couple of my as a way to get a walnut tree. That's a black walnut tree back east. That's in you know in fruit.
just leave their smell it? Yet they smell a definite just like they find females from from far away that Sent is really the way that squirrels communicate. I know we ve all heard the same problem being even a blind squirrel finds a not sometimes area that they dont use their eyes to find squirrels them really technically should be even in animals make squirrel finds a fines are not sometime cause. You know you ve got the day, you smell to bind these things, That you smell defined females, they smell defined food they also use smell to communicate in clay. I'm really be real. curious. If you ve seen this, they ve sent marking sites fox worlds and gray squirrels in particular, If you look at the underside of a branch or the base of a big cottonwoods three you'll see areas that look like somethin's, you know, and you know, maybe maybe a buck is combined- and and scraped along there, but if,
look at it closely! You'll see squirrel incise remarks. These are our set marks that all the males, rome, by an and mark, Sometimes they lose their right. Sometimes all your name on it, but if in their cheeks, and they just their wipe them. but I got a little scrape out of the woods yet little bunches great basin, big tree was never to ever saying that. Never were seen. It never never heard that look at some hickories and look at some oaks and especially on the underside of the lowest big branches or if there he's got a little bit of a tilt on it. The words less exposed to you know to weather, where that sent probably stays, you'll see these things there, sometimes yet as big as may be to feed by, like a foot and a half, what really yankee you'll see em that they're all over I'm coming. I came here from laramie, whereas got fox girls they're all over the the trees there
that would be a good strategy to sit that little scrape. So if sit there that, and I was going to say if you sit there long enough, you you'll see animals come through, especially as your approach in the breeding season, so sprang. It is a good place to go to to see squirrels and likely to hunt squirrels its male biased. So your ear and you're, not big box, you see you're getting the air you're, getting the big one point, two pounders what what are some other things like that? That hunters are probably ignoring or don't know about like if, if they're in the woods there trying to find a good place to haunt besides the obvious, like actual squirrels waters, indicators at this is gonna, be a good place. Well, if you put your dear stand out, become almost be sure. That's heads out the arab world and our on your excellent at that's one of the butler best places. So a couple of things is in the mornings animals come out and almost
First thing they do if you're talkin fall winter and spring is though, Ask in the sun and that's when you get a group of squirrel, so you'll have you no six, eight ten, twelve squirrels, all nesting together and so finding those big old trees that have some cavities in their not then like the incredibly decomposed one wind and we're gonna, fall over kind of kind of tree, but if you're, if you're in a place where you ve got some pretty good older, large, older trees? They may not even produce they may be so old. There over mature, are producing any tree seeds, but they ve got some good cavities. That's a play to go. You ve evolved seen those dan cavities, probably, and you can tell where squirrels by knowing it the tree keep conic keeps re growing, so it's
have a nice smooth edge. That's you know, that's a good indicator and attend to assess whether they, the animals might be there. I liked to go out there before, because that's when animals are going back to the nest, and so if you follow animals back, that's when you get six or eight animals coming together right at being a right before before sunset so pick it up and animal in the woods and following a back, you can usually figure out what tree or a couple a trees. There go back to an and that's it that's a really good indicator and then just the noise of them in most hunters. Will you you know, use that noise or the falling of you know
cone scales if your red squirrels you're, looking at pieces of of nuts that are falling, that's always a great indicator, but the sat marks or something like clay clay said. I know, clay loves, loves squirrel hunting and most people haven't seen that. But if you go out and look, I guarantee that you'll that you'll find a bunch of those Squirrels, don't do that as far as we can tell, but all squirrels had these sent glance in their cheeks and when they are going back to the nest they wipe those they'll stop every few feet on a branch and wipe their head back and forth called it face wipe and they're depositing sent that probably to says there's an animal here. This nest is gonna going to be occupied, and you know if you're a friend come join me share your body heat for the you know for the night, or you know be prepared to like that make who won the battle? Aren't you don't belong here? Didn't we ought to do get out there? I ones
that by accident followed, I was not just like following it to see where the daintree was. I was chasing this group of squirrels and they got to the dentures. It had me I thought well by golly I'm hunting tomorrow morning. I know where I'll be sitting in the dark waiting for him. Now I had a very successful first. Ten minutes of the morning am I doing anything like am my hurting the squirrel population by by doing that, I felt bad about like just like pino getting. Three quarters of my limit in the first ten minutes of the morning at one tree so sp, The spreading here, your hunting effort out, would be a good strategy. Those groups, though, especially if you're, not taking all the animals in the group there there either several lated females and that that group of females although there not territorial is, you know, that's kind of their space. If you're not taking all the animals, you know hid their theirs
There are still gonna, be there or it's. A group of males in the males are tippit we for not a male youngster whose, with your mom in your grandmother a near it may be a great grandmother kind of it. In that spot than that, Here you dispersed from our you're born and you're in a group with males, and you know as well the really important demographic class is gonna, be though those females, so you know just being a little an attentive and spreading at around you know you have good litter sizes they typically rebound from hunting pressure? That's not you know constant and immense without any problem and also united. you don't have to feel so guilty. I could see it in your eyes, but I think the.
With all the rafters and everything kill, em and all the rest of the kills them as they have you ever seen where worse squirrel hunters have had like localised impact the population that was of no so there's, no I've, never seen it and because of the difficulty in finding them I mean you know we just heard from Jani that he can only find a ten minutes out of a day, so we ve got that kind of ineptitude. You know there. There are always going to you up going to be squirrels around. They. Ten have good litter sizes. They tend to be able to have two letters a year if the resources are high. So when density start to get low, you see- and you have a good common cropper, her good mass crop. You have the ability respond pretty quickly? There was a study I back east in virginia.
where they had, they try to have an impact. They hunted down exceedingly high and it's something the chiefs should have had. I want to say, seventy percent mortality, something like that where they really were hunting an area very heavily, then in that case they they showed some impacts of of hunting rules are not what happens. Is you have more individuals producing two letters a year in a kind of compensate for that has now. they're they're getting more food there in better shape. You know don't have their not being chased around by other squirrels as much and they they can squirrels trieste we can reproduce at about six months of age. So, if you're in it a time when you a really good mast year. He under the year will reproduce really early, so you're born in
beware of march- and you can reproduce net- that there are cases where they ve reproduced, even in that second breeding season, so their born one breeding season and able to reproduce just a few months later by self in other their geared to be able to take advantage of these boom and bust mass crops. So a good year, you know of master going lots of young they're going to reproduce quickly and capitalize on squatting is really so inefficient, you realise that when you do a lot, a squirrel hunting, how you may hunt this big boy. A timber in You realize how many times your dogs tree and you don't kill that squirrel or how many squirrels you see that you don't kill and so I mean you you have to. You would have to hunt very very hard to be able to knock them down anders their thereof. They seem to be a species like you said that this bounces back so quickly and the other way I think about it as a hunter and I'm trying
communists, his nerves here and bring him back a little or centre here, I'm joking yarns. Is that, that you know. If you had a hundred acres track, a land squirrel hot and you just pounded, it maybe you killed seventy percent squirrels and their, which proudly curtain that be a vacuum around that place. I mean like there. You know. I would just feel that an because think of all the land you're not hunting around that likes a few good like grid off and just hunt equally like some huge portion of land, like maybe you could knock them down. Does that sound about right, John yeah, exactly the you know, prime sites are always somewhat limited out there and you ve got when you're having a litter size of two and a half to three and a half young maybe a couple of times a year animals
talked about how long they could live. You know there's not this massive turnover of adults and so when, when an animal dies in other animals moved in really quickly These have individuals that are looking for quality spots with red squirrels that our tears, Israel, even more so, as I mentioned to you, know, he put it That's an animal alive trap and it'll just for thirty, in it, and the neighbour knows that this spot is available and no one will be over there. In a minute so yeah you're exactly right clay. I didn't want europe to be too soft hearted when he comes dark and saw here, later this winter, Take what you get when you squirrel HUN buddy. Listen: I've a lot of time, effort ended on squirrels I've always had one episode like that We have yet to not board boy trigger on a squirrel opportunity, bulk limitations. Do I like just because I'm guessing
oxen grazer, pretty similar rights. Let's do them, because that's what most hunters causa trade on I know. I think that, like red pine schools have interesting, vocals asians. I've heard a lot of em. I think that they can sort of be valuable to maybe too, like an l, Conor cause. You hear me wouldn't that I might be associated with you so as bless break it up let us call it may be to go through all the that you know of what they mean. And then maybe how we can use them to our advantage. So it's there are a series of checks in a kind of that pluck that that kind of, in order to judge it very good, there's really good and the very day that end basically, its it starts there and they become more prolonged clue. sir, together louder,
with the level of threat or yes, that's not it. Not you know, as I do, I know I gotta exact ethic agar becomes a hum almost right so and in that sense you take these kind of vienna separate notes that are just cluck clock clock and then he pushes push them together and it becomes a bit a hum and then, if there really upset, then you get the war and at the answer changed why why, then that is, and that's even worse than you bad. I don't I don't you're socket about, but that's like a super agitated pissed off exists. He's telling his bodies there's trouble bruin think that its more they're telling the predator that I know you're there and I'm really pissed off an end. So they'll usually stand their ground things
so yeah I was. I was going to enroll in and say that, usually, when I hear that I feel like, I got a good chance of killing that squirrel, because I feel like he's sitting there and, like I'll carry you're walking towards me exactly so. They're gonna sit there and they're just letting you now that they know- and you know that typically works. If you're, you know, if you're a squirrel again and other squirrels, probably as predators who aren't gonna waste their time and effort. You know if you're, if you're a bobcat or a you, know a gray fox and I've seen gray foxes climb trees going after squirrels. You know you're not going to spend. all that effort. If you've got something already knows you're there you're your did and there's nothing you can do about it now, yep, that's! Ok! So it's just the fact that I'm aware of you is going to make them not go. Not because he's like. Oh there's, a mad squirrel, I'm not going to mess with that a squirrel, and so a lot of ground squirrels that living groups there is advantaged calling and letting You know letting all your neighbors sometimes are related animals, no ed.
you're here. Those alarm calls you you ve been walkin in a you, know a meadow and heard a bunch of yellow, barely marmots. You know Send it off their alarm calls that's those often related individuals, their alerting, other members their own species in that group know that there's predator there, but It also lets the predator know that you've been recognized and Initially, we used to think that was altruistic. You know that you'd have you'd, have ground squirrels alerting everyone and drawing attention to themselves turns that when you actually watch what predators do they don't go for the one that saddam and is making the call god for the one that's running for its borough, because it doesn't know where the predators so now we think that that's actually kind of a selfish, anybody you call a
watch all these the other animal scurry around, and you know the hawks gotta get one of them and they're not gonna, get you because you know you ve already identified that that you, you see them plus those high pitched calls are really hard hard to locate. Sometimes in that, that's the thing that chucks that you hear those individual notes. The barks blood, a lot of time to read about squirrels barking yeah. Those are a little easier to locate when they go into that high pitched mode. You know it's. Those high pitched calls are really hard their harder to locate once they get to that level of agitation, you know they its thoughts If they're that level vegetation, the predators really close, then it's a little bit harder to actually locate. I know they're in this tree somewhere, but the squirrels gonna see him before now. The predator sees the squirrel I've seen oh mom, what they're like chased each other rotten around I've seen him do some amount of agitated chirping
each other, but one like when you're squirrel call in lame. minor, stay this size that you're making the alarm call. When you do that noise thicken, the the squirrels, are going to wonder what the story is and come out to try to figure out what the problem is, the savary effective. For at a certain time year making the distress noise seems to get females out. But I don't it's. Well Colin is not like a great thing. I don't yeah. The squirrel calls to Petit, which once you have you know the ones that I've used to when we're trying to locate them. You know you're you're, it's it's! caution kind of instrument you, your power to judgments, the chocks you're are getting the sharia law, plunder, yep, and then that makes sense, because
that's one, there easier to locate so and usually use, and when the squirrels in the backside, the tree or a big branch, and they kind of look around, that's that's where their effective is actually getting there. You know getting their attention, rarely do do they d. Can you draw them out of it up, and so do you use those for research but yeah. We use them for research. If we know if we're trying to check on, is this individual alive and we don't have radio, colors on all our animals. She can go in and in use that chucking call or use my really lame. Chucks. That's enough for a squirrel, typically data to peak around a tree in nano cadence. I can say yo harem yo harem scurrying around the tree, a little bit that you know run it against the bark and that's it's a great way to locate individuals and it's ready red writer, green left, ear, kind of thing. the other call that you're here during mating chases. Is that its
and of his snorting of males and as they run along it's a great way to locate them. That's how we locate made he chases in kind of natural forests. That's not a parkland like I was describing before. So we work on endangered mount graham red squirrels in arizona and really dense forests, but during the breed, season. You can hear this kind of sneezing or snorting, as all these males are chasing the female on its thought that one there just they're trying to clear their there there nasal passages, so they can pick up, sent and figure out where the female is as quickly as possible, So it's thought that its related to that the only other call well a couple other really rare calls, but that one without the other one is similar to some of these that high pitch wine that we talked about females? If so during
making traces the females will avoid males in kind of incite this chase. So let the its thoughts so the most in other animal, that's in the best shape, has the best the ability to locate a limited resource could find her. And social run through gobs, robbery and things like that natural to sit at the base of a tree and it's usually the first mail that finds her that'll, get to meet with her so success is a little bit on dominance, but it's on the your skill in locating the female. If they don't find her, she's now you know she has to meet she's only in heat for six hours. If she doesn't know, then she's not going to reproduce social actually issued an alarm. Call that really high pitched call that it will attract all those males again to the site and then shall meet with the first one if they find her before the other males so. The same calls used in a slightly different context, you familiar with the usher yard when
when they're sitting there doing that pissed off call the details that's what gives away. I heard someone suggest that their use in that tale to two to trick predators because when the hawks come to slap em, they hit that takes. I see the tale moving linda well skinnies out, because they got about a tale. So a couple of things, one that flicking the tale. Also curves, coral, with how pissed off they are so the more or worked up thereabout, something you'll see them, flicking that tail more p I've tried to see how much information really conveyed in that you know is Ezra a hidden squirrel language and in others not at that level were that's like owed, here's a in our meaning of that flicking the tail, but it does seem to be coralie.
with how risky the situation is, so that perhaps the predator sees that. But other individuals may see that as well and recognise. Ok, you know there's something really close here that lets bothersome, but that tail itself has a couple. A different functions. One is that it is used for dissipating heat. So if you, if you watch a squirrel during the heat of the summer in play in owen, in arkansas you probably see this sometimes but you'll, see, played out sometimes on the ground in some waste soil now flick their tail up, and if you look at the base that, if you look at the base of the tail, they actually spread. The hairs and you'll see blood pulsing through their southern way that they dissipate heat and you can eat it. In arizona, some other the squirrel species that we have down there like the mexican fox squirrel. In other there, in a hundred and ten degree temperatures and
you know you're out runnin around you, gotta get rid of that heat fast and use your awareness. You know his fur coat So they literally sit there and use that tail. So the flip it up. themselves and blood through its and sad blood through its just a surface, to get rid of heat. It also We know that tell you some during the winter, it's like tat of an added loud layer of insulation, dead, so you'll see it lay. Over there back some of the kind of classic squirrel pictures and in the winter are usually just here's another in other blanket you're, throwing on more these, unlike an umbrella in either yeah I've seen her with. You know a half inch of snow on the on the top of the tail and they're. Just you know, kind of huddled down, so there's that advantage as well. But if you're going to have, if you're going to be attacked by a predator, you know. Talents in talents in me. You know in the tail
much better than talons in the ribcage, so they do You do occasionally find tailless animals some that may be due to predators, but really, if a predator gets you you knowing it that close predators are really good at making sure they seal the deal. More often, we see these bro, entails and clip tales are lay the result of battle between animal, so they don't they Clippy has always gone for the nuts gets, the tail huskers say they're not going to want to go back there Steve. I thought we were past this, but you know we can revisit if necessary, so that they don't go for that for those, but that the testicles, but they will Oh for tales, and so every time I see a girl the broken tale. I make up a mind movie where the fox gets about a tale
The boss off, unlike certain death, ought to happen and ever thought it was like squirrel s house, I it's. U issues, lay squirrel and squirrel violence, very rarely I I I in probably thirty or forty predation events by by mammal predators, and never once head. They ve grabbed by the tail, but never once have. As I tell broken off before Dave, you know got the kill shot in their already, but when squirrels, especially during these mating cases, when two males are fighting del often grab the other one by the tail and literally com, fling em around and throw him out of the tree, so they that's where we think most of the broken tales come from and you see a more commonly and males and females, because exactly that kind of biology, getting more call in question zoning
I guess it if you think, there's something interesting there with the with the red pine squirrel chatter. like ice eyes, walk this. The irrigation, ditch, you know, is a great way to sneak through the woods and it kind of cut through a piece of woods separated some ag fields. These Elk, fed and up above it was where they were they batted an eye. Usages hated when up ahead of me or near me boy, you get one bark and agile, and I just felt like man, every alec within a hundred fifty, our desire. I know I'm comin down a ditch yeah What at what I like, as when you are our doing anything, and you ll real quiet or whatever and you hear one light up year: pissed off pine squirrel,. And then you, like the noise mad at me, I there's no way knows bought me. Then I get really is over in that direction,.
Like what is he mad about cutting the market? I think the market anything come through the woods. So is that true, they will bark at anything. get to the word, though bark attic there nor by it- I have seen em bark at elk endear before they tend. They re use it for more often ill used for other animals, other squirrels same species, so they do the up it. So it's It's a territorial, that's what I should have pointed out that I have never heard one light up and then LO and behold here comes like a barrel. Here comes the Elk as I never could find out what is meant by so they values it days, the same kinds of calls that we were just we're talking about four fox squirrels and gray squirrels. Typically for like a predator, that's that's come through, but
They use that territorial rattle call it's that that connachar said better nosegay. Ok, commissioner, cannot vinyl swipes. Ok, let's go I'll. Take that take whatever agony, I think I think haven't that call when you're hunting, some others animal other than a squirrel. I met you be paying attention to a bargain squirrel like what I've seen as there's some percentage of time. That squirrels gonna bark at a deer, and they love bark and it bears, if your hand bears over bite, be listening for squirrels the bark and a bare for sure, but but then you know some percentage of the time they are going to be barking. Another squirrel. So it's you know not relevant information, but I mean lots of good woodsman are listening for squirrels barking in, a percentage of the time may be taught percent of the time their bark in it a target animal that you're after I would agree place especial
those eastern graves and fox squirrels. They very often. at the rattle calls it we're we're talking about with the red squirrels. Are god those a territorial call. It tends to be focused on members of their own species. Although the halo idea, man attics waited so much say, so you can blame your lack of success on, although just like, I like I hear one and I'm always dissatisfied of like that, I could never find out like what it was used mad about, but no he's just mad at some other squirrel, because if I saw two squirrels sitting there, I wouldn't be like oh he's mad at his buddy. So it really, As an indicator that space is occupied so during and especially where, when you'll see it most often is the fall when they that, when they built these new piles of cones, and it is letting their neighbors know that there's somebody there that's there, that's their pile of collins where
Do you see it used? Is you mentioned earlier? You know that bears will go in in a grizzlies like to go in and rip open these and these maidens, and sometimes eat the little bit of meat or mushrooms, but they're, mostly going for, like you know, some of the larger pine seeds, And never be stored in there, and that's where you will hear those rattle calls that territorial call of of red squirrels there, because now you ve got another competitor for seeds, so we tend to see that call used against competitors mostly other smell. So your own species, but you know grizzlies, light to go in and rip those open for food. This is an idea right this down in our list, but on a hit. Someone else questioner whose cos Is it about how to get them out of a dre have put that in to check this out let's say: you're a squirrel biologists and you try observe a squirrel.
and you see I'm running across the forest floor like die. Spooked an end he runs up and goes into a dray or goes into a hole in europe just bows, trying to do friendly squirrel study short of like smoke bombs and what like were how would you be like I'll show you how to get him to come out tricks of the trade you're asking me for tricks but what I say of friendly, ro biologists is a net situation, so it in those leaf NASS those drain that you know the basketball sized a ball of leaves hard to get him out of those they typically are going, and when I have young, they are almost always in cavities they, the the whole. You know the tree cavities that the old rotten hole that so once they're up in those balls of leaves it's really difficult to get them out. That's what I found to be true in that in cavities I
Oh you imagine this with the with the mink at the animal seem to know that that animals in others an animal outside and just like you, we ve all heard a squirrel, walking up bark and cut him how noisy that is the animal in the den cavity knows that you ve got something as an individual coming up so the way we we if we are doing a survey as friendly squirrel biology. We word you just take a stick and you work it up the side of the tree like an animal. That's a potential predator animal, that's coming up and if there's a, if there's a A group of squirrels in particular they'll, come out right away to kind of defend the turf. so Don't tell me more about their partners. There are so many cavities that don't have squirrels and if you know it's gonna, be your soul straddles all their lives as you see of go into it. Always you too bad feeling, and then I think this, maybe you can answer this, our sick,
how sick here until it somebody comes back out but man, I could wear, fell out, well one out of ten times yeah he comes out in less than ten minutes. It seems like the other nine times you sit there for thirty and he has should I be guy, it's more efficient to keep walking so those cavities our liberty, resource for four squirrels and and so they'll go in and just explored, a kind of you know likely see what their options are in our are they going to upgrade and move into this cavity ed and then females, when their pregnant will often go around and start exploring these more protected cavities, where they're, gonna or they're gonna raise their young add so either get there. This is, you know a quick visit in you know we ve all gone looking for a house or an apartment. You walk in like not not for me and I returned I'll come back out. So sometimes you'll get those kinds of experience, but when you spoke come in
runs, and you like it's odd ass. He knew or that whole was. He ran You had to get away How long do you think on average? beat so he's gonna naturally come back out again. It will often be ours. So it's a typically lot loud and he said well, you know what we're doing research in your file and animals in your like. Ok, what I'm trying to find this animals nest for the night or you you know, they're kind of in this area you want to see they're still alive, and then you spoke them by accident, it often is out. yours and during the heat of the summer in although they'll go in and they'll span, sometimes three or four hours in the middle of the day to cool to cool off.
then females with young go back and usually nurse for a couple of hours. So if you just happen to, you know catch them on the way back to the nest, or you know you spooked him in and they're close enough to the nest that they ran in they're, not going to come out for for several hours, sir the stick trick, though, like diameter of the stick and then is it like a tapping or are you more of just like caught like making some friction by rubbing? Do you have to get a ten, but long stick, so you can actually make it work all the way up towards the the whole itself. Irreligious depends on how far up the whole and it doesn't always work, but you'll have pretty good success rates with it. If, if there is, animal. And how does it not broken into the squirrel hunt world? I was it doesn't work so well, so now, you're calling me why not try out my spend a couple hours of my day with a right at the end of june, the council. Still
fail in a little salty about squirrel testicle questions, and I will report back my eyes. I don't know where you are. We mess with our yeah brower. Now is more like a tapping, or just like our you, just like you, like a rubbing, sets its a robber you're trying to imitate and animal coming up. If you watch so I would encourage go out some time in the evening and follow animals back to the nest, especially during the cold or seasons. This is with fox graze. Would risk are pretty solitary, although in winter, sometimes some nasty other the but thought it your watch, the animal it'll typically come from the side. It won't typically come straight up. Then ass, but it'll come in through canopy jump on the main stock and then go up to the cavity. see animals inside just gotta pick their head out just a little bit and we know that they have ultrasonic calls to, and they have been very well studied or talk about vocalist patients. We can't hear them.
For sound, but we know that they they can hear, and that range and so they're, probably in those ultrasonic calls, don't travel very farce of their good, for let really close use that you know really close distance, so we think that their actually communicating in a friend or foe, It s something there sometimes you'll see that bill. You'll get chased out the run down pick up. Some leaves like some warm bedding and try to use that almost as a gift to get in, sometimes it works, but the so you're really trying to imitate something moving up. You know, maybe a predator that they all night, if its. If it say enough, it's an animal they could. a member should be part of the group. Those ultrasonic calls are probably gonna work, cereal,
want to imitate you know: euro, it's a raccoon, coming up where they're all going to jump out of the nest and- and you know, you'll be able to see. If that's you know, if, if it's occupied or not, but it's more just a a scratching, a light switching and so I think yeah, I think that's something most people won't be for well you're with. But if you watched animals in the evening, you're ill ill, see that and then the other thing is the scent marks that we talked about. That can tell you if a if a, if the areas occupied can actually, if smell enough of them. He could tell here's one, that's really active and that there are probably a higher density of of animals that that are in that site. So those are those are couple of tricks of the trade are is. But this is my last question then these guys can ask their last questions to mala question is in your in your field as an academic. Let's say you got curious about squirrels falling. when you consider the
Limits of animal ethics, could you ever would you be allowed to propose and execute a study in which took squirrels and dropped them from various heights to see what happens to them or that just get shot down as being like just like that. The reward wasn't that there was enough to like justify it, and I think that's it. It's it's the kind of weighing them the benefits and the costs in other ethical car and of doing that, so you know their enact is you'd want to know in. I do the study of looking at museum bones and see you know how many are broken is you know? Does that seem to be an issue? There may be other ways that you get there and in a while, that's While it's interesting, you know learning about their mortality. That may not be, as you know, in my mind that wouldn't be enough to sway it to let's drop squirrels from a you know, a bunch, a bunch of different heights, to learn the little bit that we might
yeah, just like the pain and suffering as a warrant, but, for instance, We leave worked on some squirrel removal projects where you got an invasive, a non native species and that's in a place on my gram. We have indeed federal endangered species. Aurettes, a sub species are red squirrel there and there's introduced Aber squirrels, and so we ve done some removal studies, because because the real conservation goal is, let's make sure we still have the native species here, and in that case you know, we viewed it and so did our institutional review board and the state with their permits
viewed it as a reasonable trade off this species that wasn't supposed to be here, and so what we ve actually done is that the state of arizona increased day the length of the season bag limits all those things as a way to kind of control that non native species. So I think that you know. In that case you say: ok, you know it's a lethal method were removing these individuals and their you note there being hunters, are taking them in helping with converse conservation. In that case you know it. We we thought that that the balance you know they're the costs versus benefits warranted. You know they are doing that kind of lethal remove to try to have an impact on a species that you know might otherwise go extinct, got you ve written multiple books, like dozens of of papers on squirrels right? I have that right.
hundreds of paper, hundreds hey, that's, ok, yoga so like, and I notice that a cigarette all sin Well, perhaps, I've done my homework. Do you do you prioritize, like studying squirrels in wild areas. Or would you do a study in central park and be satisfied with the observations? Roy depend and what your question is. You know if you're, what you're trying to accomplish, and so you know a few it knows something like social behaviors and some of the things that we ve talked about being able to observe animals is really critical, although some of their social structure might change some of the basics Are they willing and asked with other individual set marking those things are thing that things that would be almost
possible to study with radio telemetry or are you know with with observations in a real natural woodland with you know, lots of different layers today, the canopy- and you know it just- would be very difficult to see you but but we can learn a great deal in those kind of open areas and we can also by comparing you know an urban area and urban parkland and a more I'll natural situation. We can also learn something. What might change in how you know habitat might be influential how human impacts might work. Squirrels are just a to me. There are great indicator of
change. You know things that we might not even yet see. Squirrels are able to pick up on those things and n because their common enough, we can see changes in density. We can see changes in behavior. I hope I mentioned a couple of times: things like the size of the home range. Hey just based on the quality of the forest we go in and we look in a forest and say you maybe you know, maybe not enough mature, see producing trees here, but it looks pretty similar structurally to other places but squirrels. You know that required enough food energy. Enough of those. Seed producing trees will let us know that there is a problem in a beetle, kill huge problem in many of the forests here in the west The time we often even notice beetle kill we ve seen squirrel decreases world numbers in those areas that there already responding to those two
just so in some ways, in a lot like the canary in a coal mine that you know, coal, minors were taken There are kind of an early warning system and their common enough that they can that we can learn relatively quickly. and because they don't live that long, they respond pretty quickly. Their numbers respond quickly. you're in your notes that noise can impact on one of the things that we ve all been down. You know dirt road, swift, lots of red squirrels on each side of the road and thought. I know not. Many people go down this. This road- probably very little impact. We have actually done some studies where we map the noise in so we we ve got in the forest, with a bunch of noise detectors and mapped, had a map of the amount of noise
and then we just driven a single truck through their and looked at how that noise level changes and- and there there's enough of a change that that squirrels can avoid those roads a little bit and head and red squirrels in particular, they won't build maidens near the near roads and it's not. The structure of forest. It's actually that the noise that they are so that they are really sensitive, and I guess you know that makes sense we're talking about all these vocalists asians and if you're, trying to listen for predators all the time. You know you're that kind of a bite size morsel for lots of things. Then you know your ability to to detect predators is probably decreased a little bit. oh they're, they're kind of a good there, a good indicator enough. Yet
the occasional vehicle moving down the road. That's not problematic, you know, but if you ve got if you're hitting a point where there's so much traffic, now that's going down down. areas, squirrels archive of an early warning system that ok, something's change traffic levels are getting a little bit too much here. So you know, maybe we need to look at power used in the forest. Terrorism it's if, if you, Google squirrel expert, your name comes up that's how we only one day and that that's what I'm? U get out. That's like how we tracked you down I, like you, are the mayor of regretting that right must already on squirrels again These are gonna, be an ignorant question the like how to someone like yourself, the squirrel expert and up at arizona and wyoming, that that seems to me, like the nations Elk expert being in the world.
Sk I like the white tailed expert being in washington state. It just doesn't really fit in my mind, and I think many p I would say that initially, ah, but for instance, the the This diversity of squirrels in the? U s is in arizona, so you know we ve talked about when you think of that kind of basin in range landscape, wary of god, you know mountain tops that our forested, where unified squirrels and then you ve, got ground squirrels. First of all in the open grasslands, the kind of seas and between these mountains in many places in the west? You may have different species, and this is the case in arizona when you just move move fifty miles between two different mountains. You got a couple, a difference
she's in other, been most of those mountains in arizona than isolated since the ice age, and you know from a squirrels perspective, so just it's really fascinating for diversity, wyoming, just the! the wonderful wide open and a wild and working lands that so many this value about the west same here in Montana, the other ability tat have species like this. There are great indicators of change to debility to go in, and you know really. help. Manage these these natural areas release release critical. When you have you know a species like this. That can be wonderful indicators, be an early warning system. You know the opportunity to make a difference here. You know, is
really wonderful, so I've I've enjoyed livin in the west in and having moved to the hob school of environment and natural resources are just in the last few months for exactly that same opportunity to have an impact in that are you guys are, is as much fun as they have in these kinds of shows. You know you. You want to make sure that we have these opportunities in the future and in that's that's the same for me. So that's that's. What's brought me here, can't speak for the Elk biologist in rascal clay where you got a gouty final final questions, final thoughts, man, you know A question was about squirrel, meet this real quick. trying to fuel this narrative that we all have that squirrel may dislike rocket fuel and, like this great meat, Do you have any info?
protein nutrient content a squirrel meat as compared to other meats. No, I don't clay, you know it is very tasty beat I I've enjoyed squirrel, but I don't. I don't have a comparison. Sorry and help the most people, a lot of people, have the have caught a stigma with squirrel meat. You know I was just other diet is just so much plants fruits and not some in their disarray. clean animal, I mean when you skin them and eat them. It's it's. It's really a lotta. Dismantle stigma, but Well, since you don't have that data, I'm gonna go ahead and just keep telling my story that incite the most healthy mean the world. That's all steve I would I will say that I think I think you're right that that squirrels get a bad rapids pry back to the tree rat kinds of things where we started today. It others a bit stigma, but they are there
are omnivorous. There eating a variety of different foods. Ads In that sense, it all day they are a good meet. The other thing that I think you know from our hunting perspective. It's a great way to get kids involved You know early, it's one of those species they see enough of ad, now you may not, You may not have a have great lock in the day, but you're out, you know moving through the woods appreciating the forest law. assign to teach. You know, kids about you. Can see this in other hauled nazi can see some of the diggings. you can see, they sat marks it just a great way to teach. You know, teach folks, hotter how to really enjoy those natural areas. Gary guiding wrap it up I don't have anything else. I was going to throw to John and see if there's anything that we that you wanted to add that you feel like we missed in the big scroll conversation I have thoroughly enjoyed it this time and and and hope, hopefully,
Everyone's learned a little bit about things or we're filming this on the twenty cent per were taken this on the twenty second of january, the day after squirrel appreciation day. So I know us- hard from any of you to pull yourself a bad and get what scale ch day, but my brother's birthday, so so is that every year, the january twenty first it's there was just designated as squirrel appreciation day saw a kind of in the high wholly days of squirrel biology. Cannot get their groundhog coming up so this is, you know, you're lucky that that I was willing to drive here. Squirrel appreciated, as only you draw here, because squirrel appreciation to rally to appreciate matter right, and it's really have appreciated that the discussion. But you know it's: it's just died. I really feel that that squirrels we talked about them. You know as a as a
source for us to enjoy you hunters you ve got folks urban environments, like me, grown up really only mammal that I could you know, could see enjoy it other teachers. them for enough for projects in and by algae early on and then their their indicator species have enough of forest change. So to me, I I I really appreciate it. You know anyone can appreciate the beauty of an Elk moving across. You know a meadow better to have the finer level of explanation. Azure, that's right reshape zero. It takes that special level of appreciate how does someone, your books on squirrels they're, all on amazon you ve got squirrels or the world is there. It is the one that we that were most proud, other more work working on a new new edition of that north american tree squirrels there's a book.
on a college of endangerment. My comrade squirrels and, most recently the book I shared with you- is international wildlife management that looks at things broadly, but there are few squirrel, meant it's in there. I want my get me a signed copy of north american trees. Girls. We can make that happen to her I just thought I'd rather bored politely, to read that one you think hunters can learn something from your squirrel books most definitely I think, squirrels of the world is kind of a compendium chose everything from chipmunks. So when we talk about mostly about tree squirrels, but you ve got flying squirrels mostly nocturnal, if god prairie dogs in a ground, marmots chipmunks. All of those things are squirrels as well. That covers all of them, with american tree squirrels a lot of these topics. We talked about one of the great things about writing. A book like that is,
few observations where you only have a couple of you know cases of them. You can leave him into a book more than you get a scientific publications. so north american tree squirrels, has has a bunch of these kinds of, talks a lot about the the ce marking side said: nesting behaviour social behaviour, so it would be a good one to her. Learn. Learn learn a fair amount from ah john but once again, John lad issued last name capacity as such. It's john lad capacity dean and while meeting excellence chair at the hob school Of environment and natural resources and a squirrel man, I'm proud of olives after school, they very moderate, doktor squirrel. They vary As for common on this great yeah, answered a million questions for us thoroughly enjoyed it.
thanks you don't hardly anyone wants talk about squirrel. So when you have the chance, you guys are lucky, I'm not stay and extra day an eye on it. it answered a lot of lifelong questions. I'll look at them differently now, and I can tell you that I am going to start and find some of those. Those bach robs the squirrel rubs, this fascinating. I can't get it know about it. So If you find of semi some pictures, everyone out there of your buck, rubs, scrubbs, flop, nation I keep.
Transcript generated on 2022-11-12.