Date of Award:

1978

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Wildland Resources

Department name when degree awarded

Wildlife Ecology

Advisor/Chair:

David F. Balph

Abstract

This research describes and analyzes the behavior of free-living Uinta ground squirrels (Spermophilus armatus) temporally, spatially and with reference to differences in sex, age, population density and habitat. In addition, the relationships between local meteorological parameters and time spent above ground are described and analyzed. The frequency of eight behaviors, feeding, moving, encounters, upright, motionless, grooming, nest gathering and calling, among ground squirrels was found to be labile, varying in frequency with time of day, period of the season, sex, age, population density and habitat, and varying in spatial distribution within the home range. The dominant behavior, feeding, was most frequent during the first and last two hours of the day and tended to occur within the home range core during these hours. During the midday periods home range use became more general and the frequency of the other behaviors increased as feeding frequency decreased. During periods of sexual activity (the beginning and end of the homeothermic season), male ground squirrels displayed high frequencies of encounters, moving and calling behaviors.

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