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Daily energy expenditure (DEE) was measured in sympatric populations of red and grey squirrels using the doubly labelled water technique. Grey squirrels had significantly higher DEEs than red squirrels. However, the difference between the species was not separable from the effects of body mass on DEE. The DEEs of both species were in accordance with published allometric predictions incorporating body mass and ambient temperature. The differences in energetic requirements and social dominance, both consequences of body size, may represent means by which grey squirrels exert more interspecific competition on red squirrels than do conspecifics, potentially driving populations below viable levels in some sites.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Biol Sci

Publication Date





1731 - 1736


Analysis of Variance, Animals, Body Weight, Cycadopsida, Deuterium, Energy Metabolism, Environment, Magnoliopsida, Oxygen Isotopes, Sciuridae, Species Specificity, Trees, Water