This research investigated the home range and habitat selection of three eastern gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) in 2010 and two in 2011 (one a recapture from 2010) in a mixed hardwood forest adjacent to Park University, Parkville, Missouri. We tracked squirrels on foot, using hand held receivers and antennas, acquiring an average of 41 diurnal locations and 5 nighttime nest site locations for each individual. Kernel home range contours were created using the software program Home Ranger. Home range areas of males (x = 3.41 ha) were larger than female ranges (x = 2.39 ha). Home ranges and locations were displayed in Google Earth imagery where habitat selection analyses were performed. Individuals showed significant selection for habitat types within their ranges, some preferring upland hardwood forest and others riparian forest. Open grassy or developed areas were consistently avoided by all squirrels. Squirrels nested in a variety of trees and snags, the nesting habitat reflecting forest types used during daily activity periods. Both riparian and upland forest habitats appeared to provide needed resources and differences in individual habitat selection may have been influenced by social interactions or other factors. Google Earth Pro proved to be a useful background for displaying animal location and range data as well as a tool for performing habitat selection analyses.
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Vol. 115 • No. 3&4