How Urbanization is Effecting The Eastern Gray Squirrel
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In this experiment, I determined if urbanization affecting the foraging behavior in eastern gray squirrels? Do these behaviors become less or more frequent with the different season? The purpose of this experiment is to see how urban development and urban sprawl is affecting that behavior, not just in terms of foraging but in terms of diet as well. My hypothesis is that location and weather effects the behavior of the focal animal. To answer this question, I observed the squirrels in five areas Town (T) Built Area (BA) Mixed campus area (MCA) Natural Area (NA) and Forested Area (FA). For three days, a week for three weeks. In each area, I observed five squirrels for two to two and a half minutes each and recorded how long (in seconds) they performed certain types of behavior. To ensure this is done randomly, I walked 10- 15 ft. away from the previously observed squirrel and recorded the next squirrel I saw (determining the sex was be attempted, however, due to the specific time this observation were taken place and the fact that the observed squirrels was neither trapped nor handled, this was impossible). I also wanted to record possible factor that may inhibit one behavior over the other such as the presence of a predator, the current weather condition, temperature, human density and time (although squirrels are the most active a few hours after the sunrise and few hours before the sunsets). There will be figures for the following: There was a table comparing the foraging, alert and unnatural behaviors which contained four observed seasons to see any changes in behavior. The purpose of this was to indicate if season change plays a factor in the change in behavior. This process will be done three days a week for three weeks per season. Any uncontrolled factors such as the presence of the predator or temperature was taken into consideration when observing the data, I will compare the result of the fall season, fall-winter season, winter season and winter-spring season to determine if seasonality plays a factor in the behavioral differences of the gray squirrel or is it based solely on the type of environment they live in. In this experiment, it was discovered that neither area nor seasons greatly alter the behavior of the squirrels in the study also none of the figures were statically significant (p<0.05). Many factors could’ve contributed to these findings such as a large variety in squirrel behavior as well as tree availability seem to help vary the both the duration and frequency of behavior. To avoid, this experiment could have some experimental restriction such as only going down to two areas or enclosing the test subject to determine the behavior of and lower the possible p-value.