Good by to an old friend: 287

The squirrel phone buzzed today with a call about a dead collared and ear-tagged squirrel laying in the grass in the middle of campus. I immediately rushed out to investigate the situation, finding 287. We first collared 287 on Oct 3, 2017. We found him 291 times over the 582 days he wore the collar. We last located him on March 21, 2019, quite close to where he died. His collar was no longer transmitting when I collected him. The map below shows an home range of 30.8 acres (12.5 ha)–far larger than what is known for gray squirrels in native parts of their range (but not in places they have been introduced).

I could not figure out what caused the mortality. He was in good physical condition. There were no apparent wounds from predators. His posture does not suggest a fall from the tree. He had been dead for a day or so, as his eyes were missing and there were a few ants on him. Interesting fella.

Each dot represents one point in time where we found 287 with radio telemetry.