Do Siberian Flying Squirrels reuse nest materials made by other individuals?
Arboreal small mammals nesting in tree hollows usually line nests with materials such as leaves and shredded bark. Pteromys volans orii (Siberian flying squirrel), an endemic subspecies to Hokkaido, Japan, uses shredded bark. Since their nest materials have a very consistent shape, we suspect the squirrels use much effort to collect and shred the bark. To save effort, they may reuse nest materials made by other individuals. To test this, we mixed artificial nest materials (coloured cotton strings) into nest materials and observed the transfer of strings among nests. Of 39 nest boxes seeded with coloured cotton strings, number of strings decreased in 25 boxes (64.10%). Strings from 12 boxes were moved to other boxes. In addition, we found that P. volans orii possibly reused nest materials prepared by other individuals. Both nests and nest materials may be important re-useable resources for P. volans orii.
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