Palmer, R. R., and J. L. Koprowski. 2014. Feeding behavior and activity patterns of Amazon red squirels. Mammalia 78: 303-313.


Rosa R. Palmer
John L. Koprowski

Foraging sites are important for the survival of animals. Individuals cue on characteristics of the forest that offer enough food resources and also provide safety. During June and July of 2009 and 2010, we studied northern and southern Amazon red squirrels (Sciurus igniventris, S. spadiceus) to determine what forest characteristics were associated with feeding sites. We examined habitat use at three levels: vegetation community where feeding sign was located, site characteristics of the forest immediately surrounding the feeding sign, and the tree exhibiting feeding sign. We measured the site characteristics inside a 10-m radius circular plot, the physical characteristics of the tree exhibiting feeding sign, and the same variables at random locations for comparison. Because there is lack of knowledge about these squirrels, we also conducted focal observations to study their behavior. Squirrels use mainly high and low restinga and selected Astrocaryumand Attalea palm trees that were taller and larger com- pared with random locations. Squirrels used all vertical strata of the forest, and the main behaviors observed were travel and forage. Behaviors occurred similarly across the day but differed by vertical strata. Although squirrels used vegetation communities different than available and selected for tree characteristics, site characteristics did not appear to be important in contrast with other tree squirrel species.

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