Project Squirrel

February 9th, 2011 by nperlut

Project Squirrel is a student-staffed research program (The Squirrelologists!) conducted on the campus of the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine.

This study began in November 2009 as part of the class, Conservation and Preservation Lab.  The research continues to be collected by this and other classes taught by Dr. Perlut, as well as a field crew of students Squirrelologists.

Small and large live traps are deployed across campus to capture squirrels throughout the year.  The traps are baited with peanut butter, peanuts and sunflower seeds and set in the morning and checked in the afternoon.

Upon capture, squirrels are released from the cage into a canvas sack for tail, hind foot and ear measurements as well as body weight. The canvas sack utilized a Velcro closure on one side, which was partially undone to complete the necessary measurements, then resealed.

Each squirrel is also tagged with a numbered band(s) and a color plastic washer(s).  All squirrels are given a unique combination of color tags and band numbers to distinguish them from one another. The tags and bands are placed on the ears of the squirrels, which are then released.  Squirrels that are recaptured are reweighed and then released.

In addition to the tagging project, in the Fall 2010 term, we deployed radio transmitters on six individual squirrels.  We are busy following these squirrels to see what habitats they select and when.