Honors Thesis Projects

Date of Award

4-23-2020

Document Type

Honors Paper

Degree Name

Zoo and Conservation Science-BS

Department

Biology & Earth Science

Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth (Beaux) Berkeley

First Committee Member

Dr. Andrew Callinger-Yoak

Second Committee Member

Dr. Erica Van Dop

Keywords

Wildlife Rehabilitation, Squirrels, Infants, Animal Health, Mast, Natural Resources

Subject Categories

Animal Sciences | Higher Education | Life Sciences | Other Animal Sciences | Other Veterinary Medicine | Veterinary Medicine

Abstract

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.

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