Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Michael O'Donnell


In this study, the effects of predation risk and thermoregulation cost on the foraging behavior of the urban eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) were examined. There were two objectives. The first was to determine if either thermoregulation cost or predation risk had a more significant effect on foraging behavior. The second was to find out if foliar cover or distance to refuge was a more important cue of predation risk. To accomplish these goals, giving-up density and temperature data were collected at feeding trays both under the canopy and outside of the canopy at two deciduous trees and two evergreen trees. It was found that there was no difference in temperature between areas under canopy cover and areas in the open, and therefore, thermoregulation costs did not affect foraging in terms of giving-up density. Also, giving-up density was always lower under the canopy than in the open no matter how much foliar cover was available. This finding indicated that distance to refuge is a more important cue of predation risk than canopy cover. Therefore, the effect of microhabitat on foraging behavior should be taken into account when considering urban wildlife management and conservation.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Biology.