Wauters, LA, Suhonen, J, Dhondt, AA (1995) Fitness consequences of
hoarding behavior in the eurasian red squirrel. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London
Series B-Biological Sciences, Vol.262, No.1365, Pp.277-281.
- 45 marked individuals either in pine or oak forest with chestnuts..
- Used baited traps to capure and then used radio telemetry, plus spend a lot ot time observing with binoculars.
- Hoarding increases food availability during periods of scarcity, and therefore should enhance
- Although short-term advantages of hoarding have been described for birds, effects over
an animal's lifetime have not yet been documented.
- Here, we report that in the red squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris, individuals which recovered many cached tree seeds increased their body mass and were more likely to survive the spring breeding season than those that recovered
- There was no significant effect of the time spent recovering cached food on the
probability for females to produce a spring litter.
- In the long-term, hoarding behaviour was
related to fitness in two ways:
- (i) squirrels spending more time recovering hoards survived
- (ii) females with a high recovery activity tended to wean more young in their
lifetime than those that spent less time recovering hoards.
- Our data indicate that in red squirrels,
food hoarding is an adaptive foraging strategy to preserve temporarily abundant food resources
for future periods of hardship, and that individuals that hoard and recover many tree seeds are
more likely to survive and reproduce.