Navigation Links
New York squirrels are nuts about city life
Date:7/22/2014

Curtin University-led research has shown squirrels have adapted to New York City's human behaviour, allowing them to thrive just as well, if not better, than their fellow squirrels in the woods.

Dr Bill Bateman, Senior Lecturer at Curtin's Department of Environment & Agriculture, led the study that proved eastern grey squirrels were able to modify their behaviour in urban environments and prevent unnecessary responses when humans acted in a predictable manner, such as staying on the footpath.

"As we rapidly increase the spread of urbanisation around the world, urban areas may end up being important places for some wildlife, so it would be good to know what they like about those areas, what allows them to do well and whether humans want them to be there," Dr Bateman said.

"If we do want them there, we need to know how we can help their continued success, and perhaps encourage other animals to share our urban spaces.

"After watching the clear-cut behaviour of squirrels many times in New York, I decided to take these observations further and determine to what extent squirrels modify their behaviour when approached by humans."

Together with Murdoch University's Associate Professor Trish Fleming the research team measured alert distance, flight initiation distance, and distance fled to see if they could discriminate between pedestrians who look directly at them and those that did not, as well as how they reacted when pedestrians left the footpath.

According to the research, only five per cent of squirrels showed signs of being alerted if the human remained on the footpath and did not look at them, while 90 per cent of squirrels moved away, with longer flight distance, when approached by a pedestrian that moved off the footpaths and looked at them.

"This research shows squirrels are able to modulate their behaviour when humans behave in a predictable manner, reducing unnecessary responses and improving their ability to persist in an urban environment," Dr Bateman said.

"Generally, it seems animals do well in urbanised areas if they can eat a wide range of things and are able to move from one green space to another. Being nocturnal also helps to avoid humans, as well as being behaviourally able to deal with humans and their disturbance, as squirrels do.

"For a squirrel, the city provides a habitat with fewer predators than in the woods, and food tends to be available all year around. Traffic, however, remains the biggest killer for all urban wildlife."

Dr Bateman said in Australia there were many species of birds, mammals and reptiles that live moderately well in urban areas, and had plans to explore their behavioural responses to various human activities in the future.


'/>"/>

Contact: Megan Meates
megan.meates@curtin.edu.au
61-892-664-241
Curtin University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Robosquirrels versus rattlesnakes
2. Red Squirrels showing resistance to squirrelpox
3. Study reveals new ways deadly squirrelpox is transmitted to red squirrels
4. Protecting mainland Europe from an invasion of grey squirrels
5. Teaching about hearing can save young peoples ears
6. A birds song may teach us about human speech disorders
7. Fielding questions about climate change
8. New research about facial recognition turns common wisdom on its head
9. New discoveries about brain-hand connection sought to improve therapies, treatments, prosthetics
10. Expedition to undersea mountain yields new information about sub-seafloor structure
11. Consumers need simple, concise messages about benefits of phytonutrients
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
New York squirrels are nuts about city life
(Date:2/2/2017)... , Feb. 1, 2017  Central to ... and meaningful advances worldwide, The Japan Prize Foundation ... Prize, who have pushed the envelope in their ... and Communication. Three scientists are being recognized with ... achievements that not only contribute to the advancement ...
(Date:1/26/2017)... , Jan. 26, 2017  Crossmatch, a leading provider ... new solution aimed at combatting fraud, waste and abuse ... introduced at the Action on Disaster Relief conference in ... point for UN agencies and foreign assistance organizations throughout ... waste and abuse are a largely unacknowledged problem in ...
(Date:1/24/2017)...  It sounds simple and harmless—an electronic sensor ... signs and alerts parents on their smart phones ... drops. But pediatric experts argue that such devices ... evidence of medical benefits, especially to healthy babies. ... parents of healthy babies, promising peace of mind ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/22/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 22, 2017 , ... ... discovery and development of precision treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, today announced it has ... the ProMIS approach.” This is one of a series of commentaries from ProMIS’s ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 22, 2017 , ... LabRoots ... and scientists from around the world, is pleased to announce the launch of a ... engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. , This merit-based scholarship is open to all high ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... MOINES, Iowa , Feb. 22, 2017 Origin (Origin ... agricultural biotechnology trait and seed provider, and Arcadia ... -based company that develops and commercializes agricultural productivity traits and nutritional ... a key corn biotechnology product developed in China ... of global regulatory trials. ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... ROCHELLE, VIRGINIA (PRWEB) , ... February 22, 2017 ... ... announced today that Dr. Daniel Spyker, PhD, MD former Acting Deputy Director in ... in CDER’s Pilot Drug Evaluation Staff has joined the company as an Expert ...
Breaking Biology Technology: