- Giant purple squirrels do exist—and they have an odd behaviour
- 2. They're not afraid to live on the wild side
- Tree Squirrels - Facts & Behavior Information
- Squirrels of the World
Puffed up. The tufted ground squirrel of Borneo has a tail much more voluminous than any other mammal, compared with its body size. Few scientists have ever seen the rare tufted ground squirrel Rheithrosciurus macrotis , which hides in the hilly forests of Borneo, but it is an odd beast. Now, motion-controlled cameras have revealed another curious fact.
The centimeter-long rodent has the bushiest tail of any mammal compared with its body size. Meijaard and his wife, Rona Dennis, an independent remote sensing scientist, gathered a collection of photos of Rheithrosciurus , including ones from colleagues. All were snapped by motion-activated cameras.
Giant purple squirrels do exist—and they have an odd behaviour
Their year-old daughter Emily Mae Meijaard, a student at the British International School, Jakarta, analyzed the pictures, measuring the size of the tail and body of various individuals. The closest contenders, whose tails are merely as bulky as their own bodies, include the common striped possum, which has a prehensile tail for climbing; the squirrel glider, which navigates with its tail as a rudder; and the ring-tailed cat, which uses its tail for balance during acrobatics in trees. Here are six stupendous snippets of squirrel science to help you celebrate squirrels today and every day.
The moment a squirrel first encounters a tasty morsel of food, it has to make an important decision: Is it better to eat this now, or will it be more valuable in the future?
2. They're not afraid to live on the wild side
A lot goes into answering that question, says Amanda Robin , who studies squirrel behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles. Depending on the season, food might be scarce, making the prospect of a little nosh extra appealing.
The nut itself could be highly perishable, and not worth a laborious dig. Or there could be lurkers nearby, waiting to poach a hastily buried treat.
Many squirrel species make a ritual out of hoarding snacks—not unlike us humans. These rodents may not be ticking items off a grocery list or stashing leftovers in a refrigerator, but their food-storing strategies are no less sophisticated.
Recent work from a research group led by Lucia Jacobs , a behavioral biologist and squirrel expert at the University of California, has shown that fox squirrels Sciurus niger , arboreal squirrels native to the eastern half of North America, will cache anywhere from 3, to 10, nuts each year. An arboreal squirrel munches on a nut.
Some tree squirrels will stash up to 10, nuts each year in preparation for the tough winter months—that's a lot of snacks to keep track of. Image Credit: Diliff, Wikimedia Commons. The idea is that more far-flung locales might be tougher for competitor squirrels to find and pillage. Jacobs likens the process to investment banking, with each new find triggering a fresh round of caching calculus.
The more precious a food item, the more important it is to stow it away with care. In other words: have nut, will travel. In , Pizza Ka Yee Chow , a squirrel researcher at Hokkaido University in Japan, put this mental longevity to the test with a group or scurry of eastern gray squirrels Sciurus carolinensis , which are native to the eastern half of the United States and southeastern pockets of Canada.
Tree Squirrels - Facts & Behavior Information
Chow presented her squirrels with a tricky task: pressing levers to access big, juicy hazelnuts. The critters quickly finagled their way through, and Chow took the puzzle away. They even proved handy when offered a modified puzzle that also relied on levers, but looked completely different.
After a brief moment of hesitation, the squirrels realized that even with this new challenge, the same logic applied. Squirrels are adept puzzle-solvers that aren't easily outsmarted by barriers or locks, which might help explain why we're always coming across them in our homes and trash bins. AB - Squirrels of the World, written by scientists with more than years of collective experience studying these popular mammals, is the first comprehensive examination of all species of squirrels worldwide.
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Abstract Squirrels of the World, written by scientists with more than years of collective experience studying these popular mammals, is the first comprehensive examination of all species of squirrels worldwide. Fingerprint Sciuridae.
Squirrels of the World
Natural History. The Johns Hopkins University Press. The Johns Hopkins University Press,