alienspecies.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/content/sightings

Click on the link to visit the Alien Sightings map on the Aliens Among Us website. Which species have made their way into your neighbourhood? Where have Eastern Grey Squirrels been spotted? If you see an Eastern Grey Squirrel in your community, take a picture and post the location on the interactive map.

alienspecies.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/content/sightings

Click on the link to visit the Alien Sightings map on the Aliens Among Us website. Which species have made their way into your neighbourhood? Where have Eastern Grey Squirrels been spotted? If you see an Eastern Grey Squirrel in your community, take a picture and post the location on the interactive map.

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Photo of Eastern Grey Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis, grey variety.

Grey Variety of the Eastern Grey Squirrel

Royal BC Museum

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Photo of Eastern Grey Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis, black variety.

Black Variety of the Eastern Grey Squirrel

Royal BC Museum

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Photo of Douglas’ Squirrel, Tamiasciurus douglasii, also known as Chickaree

The Douglas’ Squirrel is much smaller than the Eastern Grey Squirrel and sports a colourful underside.

Robyn Worcester
Robyn Worcester

Robyn Worcester


Photo of Red Squirrel, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus, also known as Pine Squirrel

The Red Squirrel, like the Douglas’, is much smaller than the Eastern Grey Squirrel, but has a white underside.

Robyn Worcester
Robyn Worcester

Robyn Worcester


Video of Royal BC Museum Curator, Gavin Hanke, talking about the introduced Eastern Grey Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis.

Gavin Hanke, Curator, Vertebrate Zoology, Royal BC Museum

Royal BC Museum – Where the Past Lives

Aliens Among Us

Squirrels

Gavin Hanke, Curator, Vertebrate Zoology, Royal BC Museum

I’m Gavin Hanke, Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at the Royal BC Museum.  BC’s tree squirrels, we have a few species.  They’re actually quite easy to identify. 

The most distinctive, I think and I think the most interesting is the Flying Squirrel.  Very soft, grey to brown pelt and, of course, you can’t miss that it’s got these flaps of skin to help it glide from tree to tree.  So, very distinctive, it’s nocturnal, it’s one of our native species.

The Red Squirrel, another one of our native species and Douglas Squirrel, also native.  They look very much alike.  The Red Squirrel has a nice, rusty, red back and a pale belly.  The Douglas Squirrel has more of a darker, brown back and this bright, orangey, cinnamon sort of a belly.  They’re quite distinctive.

Now for comparative purposes, here’s one of the invasives.  This is a Gray Squirrel.  A Gray Squirrel, next to a Red Squirrel, you can see that they are significantly different in size.  Now, Gray Squirrels come in a dark form and this is the typical, grizzled grey-brown form.  We also have the Fox Squirrel which is slowly making its way into the Okanagan region.  Fox Squirrels also look a lot like Gray Squirrels.  They are quite distinctive and easy to tell apart. 

The Red Squirrel, our native species, is more often found in coniferous forests and they are province wide.  They are widespread boreal forest animals.  The Gray Squirrel has only been introduced in a few locations, the Lower Mainland, southern Vancouver Island, and it really does well in and around people.  So, urban environments, parks, they are all over the place.  People do like to feed them so they do very well around us.  They also, because southern Vancouver Island is the Garry Oak ecosystem, these guys have an impact because they will eat the acorns of the Garry Oak.  Not only are they invading in urban environments, but they are also impacting a rare plant species in British Columbia.

Let’s face it, that’s a big squirrel.  They have the ability to dominate territory, they can evict other smaller native squirrels out of their nests if they wanted to.  Based on its sheer size and presence that is intimidating for our native species.  You can expect that a Gray Squirrel could have a severe impact on the native species if it invaded a new region. 

Royal BC Museum

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Description
Students design and video document a project to decrease the impact of alien species in their own community.

Method
1. Have students explore the resources in The Links of Life and watch the video, “Scotch Broom Sweep at Mill Hill Regional Park”, in the learning object Forest Invaders. This video shows grade 6 students removing the invasive alien, Scotch Broom, from a native Garry Oak ecosystem.

2. Working in pairs or groups and using information gathered from the video and interactive map, students identify an ecosystem in their community that is being impacted negatively by an alien plant or animal species. Students brainstorm ideas within their groups and then share them with the class. As a class, students decide on one project they can work on together that will help decrease the negative impact of an invasive alien species. Projects should include a title, a clearly stated goal and a timeline with a completion date.

If students have difficulty conceiving an idea on their own, they may want to consult with a knowledgeable person i Read More
Description
Students design and video document a project to decrease the impact of alien species in their own community.

Method
1. Have students explore the resources in The Links of Life and watch the video, “Scotch Broom Sweep at Mill Hill Regional Park”, in the learning object Forest Invaders. This video shows grade 6 students removing the invasive alien, Scotch Broom, from a native Garry Oak ecosystem.

2. Working in pairs or groups and using information gathered from the video and interactive map, students identify an ecosystem in their community that is being impacted negatively by an alien plant or animal species. Students brainstorm ideas within their groups and then share them with the class. As a class, students decide on one project they can work on together that will help decrease the negative impact of an invasive alien species. Projects should include a title, a clearly stated goal and a timeline with a completion date.

If students have difficulty conceiving an idea on their own, they may want to consult with a knowledgeable person in the school or community. People already working on alien species issues may be able to suggest an existing project students can contribute to. Is there a person or group working on alien species issues in your community? Students may want to talk with teachers involved in local environmental issues, staff at museums, natural history agencies, nature houses, local parks offices or local provincial Ministry of Environment offices.

Summation
3. Students record the work of their project in a video similar to the one they watched in Forest Invaders. At a parent night, assembly or special event, students present their videos. Students can take their project a step further by inspiring students across the province. Visit http://www.bcgreengames.ca/ to find out how to enter the class project in an environmental action contest for British Columbia students.

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
• describe the impact of an introduced species on a local ecosystem
• appreciate the negative and positive impact humans can have on a local ecosystem
• contribute to a class project that lessens the impact of an alien species on a native ecosystem

This learning object is linked to prescribed learning outcomes from the Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Education, Integrated Resource Package for Grade 7 Science.

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