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

  • Author / Creator
    Donald, Jenna
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Biological Sciences
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Boutin, Stan
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • St. Clair, Colleen Cassady
    • Hurd, Peter