Squirrels forget where they hide about half of their nuts. - FactzPedia

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Squirrels forget where they hide about half of their nuts.

Squirrels forget where they hide about half of their nuts.

A study done at the University of Richmond cites that squirrels fail to recover up to 74% of the nuts they bury. This misplacing of so many acorns (the seeds of oak trees), the study says, is likely responsible for oak forest regeneration.

Swihart and his colleagues have found that gray squirrels bury nuts all over the place, and often forget them. That results in trees growing in new areas. But red squirrels store nuts in piles on the ground. Those piled-up nuts tend to dry out and don't take root.

25 nuts
A squirrel's scalpel-sharp incisors grow about six inches per year. As with all the other members of the rodent family, squirrels must constantly gnaw on hard materials to keep them worn down and to sharpen them. In an hour's time, a squirrel can collect and bury 25 nuts.

Squirrels are likewise extremely intelligent animals that have demonstrated that they have superb memories. ... There are numerous well documented instances of squirrels remembering human beings. Wild squirrels are quickly trained to keep in mind that particular individuals can be risk-free and trusted sources of food.

Sometimes, chipmunks end up forgetting where they buried the rest of their nuts and seeds. If memory doesn't help, they use their sense of smell to locate their own and other animals' caches. This especially works when there is moisture.

Detecting Caches by Smell

 It was previously assumed that squirrels did not remember where they stored food, but rather uncovered it through scent. Squirrels do use smell partly to uncover buried caches, and they often find and steal at least a nut or two from other squirrels' caches, which they can detect by the odor.

Depending on the squirrel species and the type of nut, squirrels are generally able to retrieve up to 95percentof their buried food, research shows. So there's clearly more than chance behind this process. It was long believed that squirrels simply relied on their sense of smell to find their food.

It's no secret that squirrels enjoy eating nuts, but a lesser known fact is that many of these cunning rodents also enjoy the thrill and easy reward of stealing nuts away from others. ... They then retrace the original squirrel's steps and steal many of the nuts they've buried.


In great numbers, these squirrels begin to bury nuts! Squirrels hide nuts this way as preparation for cold weather when otherwise food will be scarce. ... Eastern gray squirrels, in particular, bury their nuts far and wide.

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