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Abstract

The role of route-based visual information in the homing behavior of red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) was assessed in an experiment contrasting the homing performance of 8 squirrels that could see the landscape during displacement and that of 8 squirrels that could not. Availability of route-based visual information improves the accuracy of homeward orientation but is of no use for the animals to assess distance to home. These findings are congruent with the “critical-distance model” (Bovet 1984, 1987) which implies that choice of direction and estimation of distance are independent processes in the homing performance of untrained animals.