Sunday, November 14, 2010

Squirreled Away

You know what one of the funniest things about fall is?

Squirrels.  (They're also funny in these clips from Up.)

They are everywhere in the fall, running around, stealing stuff, burying it, and stocking up for winter.

But did you know that squirrels don't actually remember where they bury their nuts?  Well, at least red squirrels (the enormous ones we have here included) don't remember.  Scientists still aren't sure about gray squirrels, although I'm tempted to side with the scientists who believe they don't remember-- according to this article in the New York Times, gray squirrels don't find over 70% of the nuts they bury.  They're not going to be getting a call from Mensa any time soon, that's for sure.

This is not to say that squirrels are completely stupid, although the running-in-front-of-cars thing might say otherwise.  According to the same article, gray squirrels at least know which nuts last longer buried and which they should eat immediately.  And if nothing else, at least they're a helping hand in spreading acorns, acting as fluffy little agents of reforestation.

So try not to run them over next time one dives in front of your tires.  And if one looks lost, maybe you can help him find a place where he might have thought it a good idea to bury food, since your guess is likely as good as his.

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