Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Wildland Resources

Department name when degree awarded

Wildlife Biology

Committee Chair(s)

Allen W. Stokes


Allen W. Stokes


William F. Sigler


Fred H. Wagner


This study describes behavior of the Uinta round squirrel (Citellus armatus) in a free-living population. Its objective is to provide basic behavioral information on a small mammal which can fill in part of the gaps in our knowledge of behavior and social organization of the vertebrates. This would contribute to the long-term goal of viewing the progressive evolutionary changes in behavior from lower forms to man.

Tinbergen has done much experimental work with animals, but he cautions biologists not to begin experimental work until they have a knowledge of the animals' general behavior. In his book Social Behaviour in Animals (1953), he states that initial behavioral research should be broad, descriptive, and observational in nature. This is necessary before attempting investigation of specific behavioral problems in order to place each behavior pattern in its proper perspective . Accordingly, this study attempts to describe the spectrum of ground squirrel activity aboveground. Further, within the limited scope of a broad descriptive study, it attempts to ascribe possible causation, function, and origin to some of these activities.

The beginner sees a welter of activities and postures in the ground squirrel. However, with time one learns that there are general patterns of behavior in the apparent chaos. A given situation, such as feeding or fighting, is sufficiently stereotyped to enable one to eneralize about the activities and postures that occur. This paper presents just such generalizations. All descriptions are of adult ground squirrels in the study area unless otherwise indicated.




This work made publicly available electronically on April 30, 2013.