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Intraspecific cache pilferage in larder-hoarding red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) in Kluane, Yukon Open Access


Other title
Red squirrel
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Donald, Jenna
Supervisor and department
Boutin, Stan
Examining committee member and department
St. Clair, Colleen Cassady
Hurd, Peter
Department of Biological Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Pilfering is thought to play a role in the evolution of scatter-hoarding strategies; but is not well understood in larder-hoarding animals. I studied intraspecific pilfering in red squirrels in Kluane, YT, Canada. The purpose of this project was to estimate the natural rate of cache pilferage, and to examine variation in pilfering behaviour. Results from experimental removal of territory owners, suggested that younger squirrels with smaller food caches were more likely to pilfer when given the opportunity. Survival over-winter was dependent on the number of cones cached and pilfering squirrels were less likely to survive. Using a mark-recapture study of marked cones I found that few individuals (14%) did any pilfering and stolen cones represented only 0.3% of total cones cached. It is clear that pilfering occurs at a much lower rate in Kluane than reported for red squirrels in other regions, and is less than rates reported for scatter-hoarding species.
License granted by Jenna Donald ( on 2010-04-28T17:17:24Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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