Feeding habits of the squirrel Sciurus variegatoides (Rodentia: Sciuridae) in the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
Food items consumed by the squirrel Sciurus variegatoides atrirufus were determi- ned in an agricultural setting in the Nicoya Península (9o47’ N, 84o56’ W), Costa Rica, where two life zones (Premontane Moist Forest Basal Belt Transition, and Tropical Dry Forest) predominate. By analyzing the gut contents of 120 squirrels, from February 1987 through January 1988, it was determined that coconut (Cocos nucifera), indian almond (Terminalia catappa) and flamboyant (Delonix regia) were the most common dietary items. There were differences in food consumption according to age: adults preferred coconut, whereas young individuals preferred almond. This finding can be explained in terms of fruit characteristics, as well as tree architecture and accessibility for squirrels; almendro trees provide higher protection and a more accessible food resource, so that it was better used by young individuals.
Keywords: squirrel, sciurus variegatoides atrirufus, food habits, costa rica