I am sure you love squirrels, who doesn’t? :)
But do you know these 4 intriguing and super sweet facts about them?
1. Squirrels are tree planters. Oh yes, seriously!
Squirrels are food hoarders, and are famous for hiding their food. They need to bury nuts and acorns for winters. In what is known as “scatter hoarding”, a single squirrel can bury thousands of acorns all over the place. But they never dig up and recover all of them later. Often, they just forget where they had buried all their food.
These forgotten acorns become the Oak trees! According to scientists, this is how hardwood forests spread. Now, isn’t that sweet? :)
Deep in the frozen tundra of northeastern Siberia, a squirrel buried fruits some 32,000 years ago from a plant that bore white flowers. In the winter of 2012, a team of Russian scientists unearthed the fruit and brought tissue from it back to life, growing the plant once again!
2. Squirrels adopt orphaned babies!
Squirrels have this incredible altruistic side to them.
According to biologist Jamie Gorrel, after climbing a tree in the middle of the Yukon forest, he looked into a squirrel’s nest and found a pup that clearly did not belong there. It was older and larger than the others in the litter.
He along with his research team collected DNA from the whole litter and later, back at the genetics laboratory, the mystery was solved.
They determined that the larger pup had been adopted by an older sister after its mother had been killed by a predator!
3. When it comes to food storage and consumption, squirrels are craftier than you think!
Squirrels often practice “deceptive catching”!
While hiding their food, if squirrels think that they are being watched by their food robbers, they will try to mislead them. What Squirrels do is, they dig a hole and pretend to bury some random tidbit in it and then cover it too. But actually, they have not put the real thing (the nuts) in there, it is still in their mouth! :)
And as for food buried by others, squirrels can find the food buried beneath even one foot of snow!
Squirrels are gourmet cooks!
How, you ask?
Well, for one, they know the difference between acorns coming from two different types of Oaks – Red & White.
And so they store them accordingly too! :)
White acorns germinate fast after falling from the tree, consequently losing their nutrition, so squirrels eat them as soon as they find them. But red acorns last long, so they bury them for winter! :)
Another gourmet skill of squirrels, they make Mushroom Jerky!
Red squirrels hang Mushroom out to dry between tree branches so that it keeps better over the winter.
4. Squirrels got their name from that super fluffy and super useful tail!
According to wordcentral.com, the word “Squirrel” came into existence in this very interesting way –
When a squirrel sits up to eat or to look around, it often raises its bushy tail up against its back and over its head as if to shade itself.
The ancient Greeks noticed this habit, and they called the animal skiouros. This word was made up of skia, meaning “shadow,” and oura, “tail.”
The Romans turned this into the Latin word sciurus, which made its way into early French as esquirel. English squirrel was borrowed from the French.
Squirrels make fancy uses of their tails, such as:
- Protection from rain!
- As shade while in extreme sun!
- For balance!
- As a blanket in harsh winter!
- Like a rudder during swimming in water!
I met this chubby cute little miss while she was relishing acorn outside a visitor center of the Great Smoky Mountains National park.
She was so engrossed in eating, I could patiently take some good photos of her from pretty close… :)
Wishing you a very happy June 2018 – Keep your screens pleasant, keep your month organized! :)
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