Ethology can be defined as “the study of animal behavior based on the systematic
observation, recording, and analysis of how animals function, with special attention to
physiological, ecological, and evolutionary aspects” (The Columbia Encyclopedia,
Ethology involves both laboratory and field experiments and focuses on an
This study also considers whether behaviors are learned or
In this lab, it was attempted to observe a species in such a way as to discover their
actions and the way in which these actions, or behaviors, were conducted.
chosen by my group, consisting of Cody Whetsel, Jialiu Liu, Dan Ebner, Patrick Nugent,
and myself, was the southern grey squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis carolinensis.
prevalent in the Hartville area, these squirrels were common around the wooded areas,
especially near the campus of Coker College.
By minimizing our effect on the squirrel
by attempting to observe at a distance, we hoped to be able to observe and record the
actions of the squirrel in the natural habitat.
The behaviors that we intended to observe
included any actions that allowed the squirrel to survive, including feeding, locomotion,
social interaction, etc.
However, we were no looking for all behaviors in that we didn’t
want to directly influence the squirrels ourselves.
Though some people may consider it
impossible to observe any creature without affecting it in some way or another, it was
attempted by my group.
Methods and Materials
In attempting to find the common behaviors of the Southern Grey Squirrel,
squirrels were observed during the late fall to very early winter.
These individuals tended