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Wildlife and Other Sightings: California Grey Squirrel, Ponderosa Pine, and Sugar Pine

August 11, 2012 Posted by: LM and BW – Mather District Interpretive Rangers
California Grey Squirrel, Ponderosa Pine, and Sugar Pine

Sciurus griseus, Pinus ponderosa, and Pinus lambertiana
Ponderosa Pine Cone - Pile of eaten cones Sugar Pine Cone - Pile of eaten cones

Squirrel With Cone

August 6, 2012
Hodgdon Meadow Campground

What a curious sight - this pile of shredded pine cones scattered throughout the forest floor in the Hodgdon Meadows Campground! Who are the culprits? In this case it was the California Grey squirrel who has been dismantling these Ponderosa Pine and Sugar Pine cones. The piles show the "cob" of the cone, the stripped off scales, and outer coverings of the pine "nuts" held within the cones. These seeds are high in protein and a great source of nutrients for the squirrels. In the campground area, I also saw a laboriously-working Grey Squirrel, who had just been dragging a green and not-yet-opened Sugar Pine cone that was as large as he was.


2 Comments Comments Icon

  1. Yosemite National Park
    August 14, 2012 at 04:40

    There's not an easy way to tell what kind of squirrel has shredded a cone.

  2. George - Oakland, CA
    August 12, 2012 at 02:39

    I once watched a Douglas Squirrel doing the same thing at the Mariposa Grove. The cone was bigger than the squirrel and he was really making the scales fly. Any way to tell afterwards, just from the leftovers, who did it?


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Did You Know?

Rockfall area and talus slope at base of Three Brothers in Yosemite Valley.

In March 1987, the largest historical rockfall in Yosemite National Park deposited an estimated 1.5 million tons of debris at the base of Three Brothers, closing Northside Drive for several months.