Just what we need: more vigilant squirrels

They’re watching: Waiting, patiently waiting, all the time planning their next move. Photo by Darragh Sherwin at flickr.com
They’re watching: Waiting, patiently waiting, all the time planning their next move. Photo by Darragh Sherwin at flickr.com

A recent study has shown that squirrels eating a large item of food are more vigilant, keeping an sharper eye out for predators than squirrels nibbling on tiny bits. Now, before you say “what an appalling waste of American taxpayer money!,” please realize two things:

1) The study was done in Canada.

2) Understanding animal behavior is crucial to protecting the environment.

The researchers note that humans have a tendency to change habitats as we move into them. Some of those changes may make an animal feel threatened when it is not – or feel protected when it is actually vulnerable. Inappropriate behavior can lead to declining populations, upsetting the whole ecosystem.

So, be careful where you spread your birdseed. A squirrel’s life could depend on it.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Liza's picture
Liza says:

Squirrels...they've been busy. Participating in Canadian studies, spying in Iran...

This weekend, I pulled up what I thought was a rogue bean plant in our vegetable garden. It turned out to be a peanut plant, with the peanut still attached. (Otherwise I would never have known!) Our next door neighbor feeds the birds; I'm guessing they put out peanuts for the blue jays, but squirrels are getting in on the action and burying them in our yard. The interesting question is this: will a "roasted in the shell" peanut still sprout? Or are our neighbors getting uncooked peanuts?

posted on Mon, 07/23/2007 - 11:14am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

When I first read the headline of this post, I was sure that it said "Just What We Need: More Vigilante Squirrels."
I had to agree - the world would be much more interesting if we had a few more gun-toting, mercenary squirrels. Certainly not safer, just more interesting.

I saw a black squirrel, by the way, in my mother's yard not too long ago. There were some gray squirrels too, but the black one was much more vocal - it kept making weird grunting sounds. I think it may have had mutant powers. Like super-intelligence. Or grunting powers.

posted on Wed, 07/25/2007 - 4:08pm

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