Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects
Environmental Factors' Effects on Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) Infant Populations and Health
Date of Award
Zoo and Conservation Science-BS
Biology & Earth Science
Dr. Elizabeth (Beaux) Berkeley
First Committee Member
Dr. Andrew Callinger-Yoak
Second Committee Member
Dr. Erica Van Dop
Wildlife Rehabilitation, Squirrels, Infants, Animal Health, Mast, Natural Resources
Animal Sciences | Higher Education | Life Sciences | Other Animal Sciences | Other Veterinary Medicine | Veterinary Medicine
Ecosystem factors, both biotic and abiotic, impact all animal species. Temperature, rainfall, daylight, windspeed, mast production, competition and predation are integral to the ecosystem and thus affect the survival and overall wellbeing of the population. Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) infant intakes at Ohio Wildlife Center followed a pattern of more infants in the fall than in the spring, differing from the usual observation that more infants are born in the spring. Ecosystem factors were compared to monthly and annual intakes to see what influenced intake date, admittance condition and survivability rate of the Eastern gray squirrel infants. The results show two birth peaks for Eastern gray squirrels, with over 60% of annual infants admitted during August and September. There were moderate correlations between the infant intake and average monthly temperatures, rainfall, windspeed, mast and aerial predator intake. In general, warmer temperatures correlate to higher infant intakes, which suggests that climate change may impact infant intake. This information will be valuable to wildlife rehabilitation facilities in preparing for spikes of Eastern gray squirrel infant intakes for ordering supplies, recruiting volunteers and asking for donations by allowing them to predict these environmental trends in their geographic region.
McFarland, Jenny, "Environmental Factors' Effects on Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) Infant Populations and Health" (2020). Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects. 106.