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Habitat Use by a Dense Population of Southern Fox Squirrels

James C. Lee, David A. Osborn and Karl V. Miller
Southeastern Naturalist
Vol. 8, No. 1 (2009), pp. 157-166
Published by: Eagle Hill Institute
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25599304
Page Count: 10
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Habitat Use by a Dense Population of Southern Fox Squirrels
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Abstract

We determined seasonal macro- and microhabitat preferences of radio-collared Sciurus niger niger (Southern Fox Squirrel) in a high-density population. Fox squirrels preferred hardwood, live oak, and mixed hardwood-pine macrohabitats to pine, early successional, and turf macrohabitats. During winter, early summer, and late summer, they preferred mixed hardwood-pine, live oak, and hardwood micro-habitats to pine microhabitats. Fox squirrels preferred an open or moderate crown spacing to a dense crown spacing during all seasons, and during the summer, they preferred microhabitats with at least 1 cone-bearing pine tree. Preferred microhabitats had a short-open or leaf-litter understory structure. Although the hardwood and hardwood-pine habitats on our barrier island study site differed from typical pine-dominated southeastern fox squirrel habitat, our results demonstrating preference for these types indicated that they are capable of supporting an abundant fox squirrel population when managed by mowing, burning, and light timber harvesting.

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