Even in weather colder than (-28 ºC) (-18 ºF) some squirrels will still venture out, sometimes digging deep beneath the snow to find buried mast. A squirrel’s ability to locate a nut buried under snow and soil is amazing. Even in snow, unless I disrupted the search, I’ve never seen a fox squirrel fail to find the acorn it was looking for, although that may be due to a high density of buried acorns at this time. Although memory may play a minor role, the animal’s ability to locate stored food is mostly due to its keen sense of smell, which allow it to precisely tunnel to acorns buried about more than one centimeter below soil, as long as the ground isn’t too dry (Cahalane, 1942).
Cahalane, V. H. (1942). Caching and Recovery of Food by the Western Fox Squirrel. The Journal of Wildlife Management, Vol. 6, No. 4 (Oct., 1942), pp. 338-352.
United States, South Dakota,
Image Date: 2008DEC13
Image Species: Sciurus niger rufiventer
(EXIF Info is accurate – stamped in UTC).
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