A number of studies on mammalian species that have adapted to urban areas suggest survival may be higher for urban populations than rural populations. We examined differences in fatalities between an urban and rural population of fox squirrels (Sciurus niger). We radiocollared (n = 50 rural, n = 78 urban) fox squirrels during approximately 2 years. We found monthly survival of rural fox squirrels (Ŝ = 0.936) was lower than urban fox squirrels (Ŝ = 0.976) over the same 12-month period. Nonetheless, when comparing a 24-month period of survival data on urban squirrels with an 18-month period on the rural squirrels (periods overlapped for 12 months), survival rates were more similar between urban (Ŝ = 0.938) and rural squirrels (Ŝ = 0.945). Our data suggest that sex and season may influence survival of urban squirrels and not rural squirrels. We also found that cause of fatalities differed between the urban and rural squirrels, with >60% of fatalities on the rural site caused by predation. In contrast, <5% of the fatalities on the urban site were caused by predation and >60% of urban fox squirrel fatalities were caused by motor vehicle collisions. This study illustrates the need to advance our ability to understand, predict, and mitigate effects of urbanization on wildlife resources.
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Vol. 72 • No. 1