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Still Waters

Fox squirrels use 'chunking' to organize nuts

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Like trick-or-treaters sorting their Halloween candy haul, fox squirrels apparently organize their stashes of nuts by variety, quality and possibly even preference, according to new UC Berkeley research.

The study, to be published today in the Royal Society Open Science journal, is the first to show evidence of squirrels arranging their bounty using "chunking," a cognitive strategy in which humans and other animals organize spatial, linguistic, numeric or other information into smaller more manageable collections, such as subfolders on a computer.

Fox squirrels stockpile at least 3,000 to 10,000 nuts a year and, under certain conditions, separate each cache into quasi "subfolders," one for each type of nut, researchers said.

https://phys.org/news/2017-09-fox-squirrels-chunking-favorite-nuts.html

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Curiously, I was just watching squirrels out the window. A ground squirrel was scurrying around in the grass, finding and burying acorns, unaware a fox squirrel was observing, all the while, from it's vantage point above. After the ground squirrel departed, The fox squirrel came down the trunk of it's tree and made a bee line for the newly buried acorns, dug them each up and consumed them on the spot.

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, Hammerclaw said:

Curiously, I was just watching squirrels out the window. A ground squirrel was scurrying around in the grass, finding and burying acorns, unaware a fox squirrel was observing, all the while, from it's vantage point above. After the ground squirrel departed, The fox squirrel came down the trunk of it's tree and made a bee line for the newly buried acorns, dug them each up and consumed them on the spot.

Wow. 

Squirrel are so cute! Honestly, my stepmom has her birds and I have my squirrels. My dad on the other hand probably do without both of them. He deals with it because it keeps "his girls" happy.

Edited by Princess Serenity
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9 hours ago, Hammerclaw said:

Curiously, I was just watching squirrels out the window. A ground squirrel was scurrying around in the grass, finding and burying acorns, unaware a fox squirrel was observing, all the while, from it's vantage point above. After the ground squirrel departed, The fox squirrel came down the trunk of it's tree and made a bee line for the newly buried acorns, dug them each up and consumed them on the spot.

That might explain why there are only fox squirrels around here.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, aka CAT said:

That might explain why there are only fox squirrels around here.

Yeah, sort of like coyotes and wolves. Ground squirrels repay the courtesy and raid the fox squirrel's larder, too. Grey squirrels stay away from fox squirrel territory. The little red squirrel keeps to it's pine barrens and thumbs it's nose at all three. Flying squirrels use to raid the birdfeeder at night before the pine near the porch it was nailed to was cut down. You'd be sitting on the porch at dusk and hear a plop when they landed up the trunk of the tree. They'd scurry down the trunk to the feeder in the dark and when a light was shone on them, they were oblivious or had no fear and continued feeding.

Edited by Hammerclaw
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I love these little suckers! Here is one of the fellows who are daily guests at my birdhouse (at the 3rt floor). Some of them can be feed by hand and every time there is a new breed, the adults take the young ones to the birdhouse to show him/her where to get nuts, corn, water and apple.

f13RwEn.jpg

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