Red squirrels, socially distant by nature, teach us the value of good neighbours
By Erin Siracusa, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Behavioural Ecology, University of Exeter
In the far reaches of Canada’s North, there’s a different type of social distancing happening this year. Amid the lingering snowdrifts and bowed branches of spruce trees, a small mammal yells a ferocious “stay away!” call that can be heard more than 100 metres away.
These “rattle” calls are made by a species abundant in the boreal forest — the North American red squirrel — and send a clear message to other neighbouring squirrels: “This is my territory. Stay off.”
Despite being small in stature, red squirrels are known for their ferocity. Both males and females occupy individual…
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- Thursday, March 25, 2021