Douglas squirrel

(Aka Tamiasciurus douglasii| Pine squirrel | Chicaree)

One of the two species of squirrels found on Savary Island. The other is the Red Squirrel.

1. They feed on the nuts and seeds of the coniferous trees within their territory, e.g. Lodgepole pines, Douglas firs, and Western hemlocks.

2. "Studies have shown that the Douglas squirrel and the conifers on which it feeds have a mutualistic relationship. This is a relationship between two organisms in which each gains some benefit.

Seeds dropped during the summer by the feeding Douglas squirrel may fall on moist soil and germinate. The cones buried and forgotten over the winter may germinate and grow the following spring.

Some studies have indicated that up to 50 per cent of the coniferous trees in certain areas of the west coast may have germinated by these means."
(Source: Mutualism: The Douglas squirrel and west coast conifers)

3. According to R.S. Sherman: "Of the native mammals we have only three that I have actually seen. These are the Columbia Black-tailed Deer, Townsend's Chipmunk and the Douglas Squirrel or Chickaree.

The last has almost totally disappeared in recent years. I attribute its destruction to cats introduced by the summer visitors and left to go wild, and to the attack of a parasitic fly (Cuterebra frontanella), which is ordinarily supposed to attack rabbits. I took specimens of this fly every year until the disappearance of the squirrels. Dr. Hadwen, an eminent authority on parasitic Diptera, to whom I submitted specimens and data, expressed the opinion that this fly must be parasitic on the squirrel."

[Note: I don't know if the fly is still around, but squirrels have made a comeback.]
(Source: The Ecology of Savary Island, R.S. Sherman, P 13)
Categories: fauna mammals

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