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Western Grey Squirrel


Western Grey Squirrel
Photo Information
Copyright: Gary Larsen (gelarsen) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 24 W: 46 N: 33] (124)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-08-25
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Nikon D70, Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG AF, B+W 82mm 010 UV-Haze
Exposure: f/4.8, 1/90 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-08-25 15:40
Viewed: 4716
Points: 12
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This morning I went looking for squirrels in the San Francisco Botanical Garden and found this little guy running around.
8/26/2007 (Updated):
As indicated by the squirrel expert "squirrel400", I have changed the title and note for this pic as described below.

Sciurus griseus
western gray squirrel
Geographic Range
Sciurus griseus lives on the west coast of the United States. S. griseus can be found in Washington, Oregon, California, and in a very small part of Nevada.
Habitat
Western grey squirrels are found in woodlands and coniferous forests. They can be found at elevations up to 2500 meters.
Physical Description
Mass
350 to 950 g; avg. 650 g
(12.32 to 33.44 oz; avg. 22.88 oz)
The western grey squirrel ranges from about 18 inches to 24 inches in total length with the body and the tail. Their weight varies from 350 to 950 grams.
Sciurus griseus has silver grey fur on its back and a white underside. It has a long bushy tail which is the same silver grey color. Their tail may also have black in it. S. griseus has large ears without tufts.
The western grey squirrel sheds its fur once in the late spring and again in early fall. The fur on the tail is only shed during the spring molting.
Sciurus griseus lives to be between 7 and 8 years old in the wild.
Reproduction
Sexual maturity of Sciurus griseus is reached at 10 to 11 months. When S. griseus is approximately one year old it will begin breeding. When a female is in estrus the vulva becomes pink and enlarged. When a male is sexually active the scrotum turns black from its original pinkish gray color. Breeding takes place once a year in the late spring. There are betwee 3 and 5 young per litter. Younger females generally have smaller litters than older females. The gestation period averages 43 days. Young are born without hair and with closed eyes and ears. The head and feet of young are large compared to the rest of the body. They are weaned at approximately 10 weeks.
Behavior
Western grey squirrels live in hollow trees or in nests they build called dreys. These are made of sticks and lined and insulated with softer materials such as moss.
Sciurus griseus is diurnal. While out of the nest S. griseus spends its time grooming, exploring, gathering food, and resting. Grooming can last from 3 to 15 minutes, with most of the time being spent on the head area. Western grey squirrels have a home range size of 0.5 to 7 hectares. Males generally have a larger home range than females. While exploring Sciurus griseus gathers food. Food they don't eat or take back to the nest is buried around their home range. The buried food is called a cache and is later found by their good sense of smell. Caches are usually used in the colder months when food is scarce.
Western grey squirrels do not hibernate but much less time is spent outside during the colder winter months.
Sciurus griseus is non-territorial except when the female is in estrus.
When threatened western grey squirrels make barking sounds while flicking their tails and stamping their feet.
Food Habits
Western grey squirrel's main source of food depends largely upon local habitat characteristics. Those that live in coniferous forests feed primarily on seeds of pinecones. Those that live in hardwood forests feed largely on nuts and acorns. Sciurus griseus is also known to eat berries, fungus, bark, sap, and insects. It opens hard seeds and nuts using its incisors.
Western grey squirrels will feed on the ground as well as in trees.
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Some people consider squirrels to be a nuisance.
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Sciurus griseus can be hunted and used for food. Western grey squirrels also help disperse and plant trees by burying seeds in their caches which remain uncollected.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Suborder: Sciuromorpha
Family: Sciuridae
Subfamily: Sciurinae
Genus: Sciurus
Species: Sciurus griseus

Ref: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Animal Diversity Web. 2006.

marhowie, bobcat08 has marked this note useful
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Discussions
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To bobcat08: Thank yougelarsen 1 10-06 08:50
To marhowie: Thank yougelarsen 1 09-29 17:13
To EOSF1: Thank yougelarsen 1 09-02 07:38
To fthsm: Thank yougelarsen 1 08-26 17:46
To writerscrawlz: Thank yougelarsen 1 08-26 17:38
To squirrel400: Thank yougelarsen 1 08-26 17:26
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Critiques [Translate]

Nothing better than a good squirrel photo .. and I like this one... that is one fat and happy looking squirrel..

I hate to tell you this but this is a Gray squirrel not a fox squirrel .. You can tell by the white belly ... the Fox squirrel has a yellow tint to the fur and is a larger squirrel ..
Check out my Fox squirrel photos at http://phtographingsquirrels.com

Good details, especially since he is in a natural habitat for him. I like the expressive eyes, and that his focus is on whatever he is watching. I also like the contrasting colors. Nicely done

  • Great 
  • fthsm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 172 W: 56 N: 512] (3689)
  • [2007-08-26 4:12]
  • [+]

Saturation and sharpnes and composition is really good. TFS Gary.

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2007-08-31 10:11]
  • [+]

Hello Gary, well you've done very good on this one ! Very sharp picture, well composed image and great exposure. Well done my friend !

Mario

Hello Gary,
Well composed image, cute tail-up pose and a great POV..Very nice sharpness, detail, colors, and light here :)
Well done!
Howard

Hello Gary,

Thats a very good photo of a squirrel. Wonderful composition. Natural colors. Fine details. Good POV, DOF and BG. Regards and TFS BOB

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