Ecology of Western Gray Squirrel from Ecology and Conservation of the South Puget Sound Prairie Landscape

The western gray squirrel, Sciurus griseus, was one of the most common mammals in the
Northwest. Recently it has become rare and been accorded a “threatened species” by the State of
Washington. The western gray squirrel occurs in California, Oregon and Washington, with its
distribution in the Puget Trough centered at Fort Lewis and McChord Air Base. The western gray
squirrel uses the ecotone of Oregon White Oak and Douglas-fir. It requires continuous canopy of
these trees since it prefers arboreal travel. Food sources are varied and include truffles,
mushrooms, acorns, and other seeds and nuts. Western gray squirrels scatter horde, burying
individual acorns in the soil and relocating them through smell. Tree cavities and stick nests are
used over winter, to rear young and rest to rest during the day, especially summer days. Predators
are varied, including domestic dogs and cats. Automobiles may affect squirrel numbers,
especially during peaks of juvenile dispersal. Potential management activities include increased
monitoring to determine locations of squirrels, public awareness and education and controlling
introduced squirrel species.


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