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Feeding Behaviour of Three Species of Squirrels

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The Japanese giant flying squirrel, Petaurista leucogenys, Japanese flying squirrel, Pteromys momonga and Asiatic chipmunk, were compared for feeding behaviour under experimental conditions. Although P. leucogenys always fed in a sitting posture on branches, it extended its forepaws effectively both laterally and ventrally. When the animal was not able to place its large body on a slender twig, it brought the twig within reach of the mouth by the forepaws, obtaining food at the tip. P. momonga and T. s. asiaticus took a hanging posture, too, and the former was more skillful in this posture than was the latter. In picking up food scattered on the floor, P. leucogenys extended the body, without shifting its hindfeet, in a wide range including its lateral side; T. s. asiaticus got food in a narrow range only just in front of the body, and P. momonga had an intermediate range between those of the above two species. Among the three species, the daily frequency of feeding bouts was in inverse proportion to the duration of a feeding bout; P. leucogenys had relatively long and infrequent bouts, the reverse being the case with T. s. asiaticus. Characteristics of the posture, technique and frequency of feeding in the three species were supposed to be a reflection of interspecific differences in the diet, habitat, and freedom and length of the forelimb.

Affiliations: 1: (Zoological Laboratory, Faculty of Agriculture, Kyushu University 46-06, Fukuoka 812, Japan


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