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Northeastern Naturalist

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To determine habitat characteristics that influence Sciurus niger (Eastern Fox Squirrel) abundance and distribution within a suburban/urban landscape in the midwestern United States, I documented the density and placement of fox squirrel leaf nests in 20 woodlots in the Indianapolis metropolitan area, Marion County, IN. The woodlots varied in size (0.94 to 19.5 ha), approximate age, shape, and degree of isolation from other woodlots and suitable squirrel habitat in the surrounding area. Only 8.0% of nests were located in a tree with another nest, and nests were randomly distributed in all but one woodlot, where they were uniformly dispersed. Nest density was not significantly related to woodlot size, approximate age, shape, or degree of isolation. Fox squirrel leaf nests were not found in greater densities along the edge of each woodlot, contrary to previous reports. My results suggest that the distribution patterns of fox squirrels within suburban/urban landscapes are similar to patterns within landscapes fragmented by agriculture.


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This article was originally published in Northeastern Naturalist.