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Ecology - Research Paper Example

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Name Institution Course Instruction Date The Behavioral Pattern of Eastern Gray Squirrel Abstract We engaged in this experimental activity in order to establish the relationship between the different behavioral transitions in gray squirrels. These squirrels exhibit multiple behavioral changes during foraging…
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Download file to see previous pages The transitions did not follow a successive order but were rather random for each squirrel. In addition, it became evident that a relationship exists between the behavioral transitions. From the analysis, the behavioral changes appeared to be the results of chance and were very random. The highest transition frequency was between the food searching behavior and food handling. The lowest frequency occurs in vigilance behavior and food searching. The animals must strive to strike a balance between safety precautions and food searches. For the balance to occur, squirrels have to set the priorities right. It is critical for them to determine when the urgency for security must surpass the urgency for food. Introduction The Eastern Gray squirrel’s main habitat is the eastern North America and parts of Canada (Makowska and Kramer 2006). This species relies on seeds, nuts, acorns, beechnuts, butternuts, and hickory nuts for food. These squirrels usually remain in their dens and nests during winter. The Gray squirrel must avoid getting into the way of its multiple predators. These predators include hawks, owls, raccoons, and snakes. Socially, these squirrels value relationships and have close associations within their communities. This species of squirrels exhibits unique behaviors when feeding. These squirrels have many predators and have to stay wary of while searching for food. This is the reason why squirrels exhibit multiple behavior changes in their search for food, as they have to strike a balance between feeding and remaining secure. Many scientists have tried to decipher the behavioral patterns of the squirrels in the venture for the search of food. Numerous ecologists have been striving to explain why these behaviors result. This experiment sought to establish the different patterns portrayed during the squirrel’s search for food (Parker and Nilon 2008). Prior to this experiment, we predicted that the gray eastern squirrel portrays several foraging patterns. In addition, we hypothesized that there was a relationship the transition from one pattern to the other. Specific predictions suggested that there was vigilance behavior that led to food searching. There was also a possibility that food-handling behavior would precede vigilance behavior. Methods In this experiment, we observed squirrels for duration of fifteen minutes. We used focal fallows to observe the behavioral patterns of the squirrels. After observation, we tallied the frequencies of transitions indicating. Finally, we used chi-square test to determine the relationship between the transition behaviors. Results Statistical analysis of the data derived from tallying the observations presented the data available in the table 2 in the figures shown. The graph in figure shows the number of squirrels that exhibited different transition behaviors. The highest frequency occurred between food searching and food handling. The transition from vigilance behavior to food searching presented the lowest frequency. The squirrels also switched from vigilance behavior to food handling at a remarkable frequency. Only in few occurrences did the squirrels exhibit a transition from either vigilance or food handling behavior to engage in social behavior. It became evident that the squirrels did not exhibit any transition from social behavior to food ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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