How Many Nuts Does a Squirrel Burrow a Year?
While the process of nut burring may seem random to us, the squirrels tend to bury their nuts in the same spot over again. They begin this process when the leaves start to wither away. They also bury them in places where other animals can’t get to them. In fact, some squirrel species bury as many as 9,000 nuts in one year! Read on to learn how the squirrels store their nuts.
fox squirrels can remember the burial location of as many as 9,000 nuts
The brains of fox squirrels are able to remember the location of 9,000 nuts. Despite their short-term memory, they can remember the location of the nuts they buried the previous year more efficiently than other squirrels. They use their head shakes to judge the quality of the nut, which they store for future use. It’s not clear why squirrels remember their nut caches so well, but it’s amazing how much information they can retain.
Squirrels can remember the burial locations of thousands of nuts a year. They also store millions of pounds of seed on garden birdfeeders. During the winter months, they bury as many as nine thousand nuts. They use a combination of memory and smell to find and eat them. These memory skills are important because the squirrels bury thousands of nuts every year.
Red squirrels bury nuts during hoarding season
When red squirrels bury nuts during hoarding seasons, they often use the same area to store a large amount of nuts. These caches are often re-buried as the weather warms, which may be beneficial to other organisms. According to a University of Richmond study, squirrels do not recover 74% of the nuts they bury. Moreover, their habit of widespread caching helps spread genetic information far and wide.
The behavior is called deceptive caching. Squirrels use deceptive caching to hide food. They pick a spot in the ground, bury the nut, then cover it with soil. The process can be repeated several times until the squirrels have depleted the cache. In addition to this, the squirrels may leave empty caches. The purpose of deceptive caching is to hide the nuts.
Grey squirrels pile up cones to keep them dry
In the winter, grey and red squirrels are busy collecting pine cones and piling them high in the tree’s crotch. They eat the seeds inside, leaving the characteristic “cores” under the conifer trees. In addition to pine cones, chipmunks consume various nuts, seeds, and insect larvae. They carry their food in expandable pouches in their cheeks.
A pile of pinecones can be several feet high and wide. Douglas squirrels live in pine forests in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. They are also commonly known as Chickarees. This species is named after David Douglas (1799-1834), a Scottish botanist. They are easy to recognize by their deep red fur. While American red squirrels only grow to be a few inches long (13-18 cm), they have a tail as long as six inches.
Tree squirrels bury nuts in places that are hard to reach
Tree squirrels bury nuts in places that they cannot easily access, allowing other species to benefit from their efforts. The squirrels’ habit of burying nuts in places that are hard to reach is a key factor in the spread of oak forest seeds, which is why some people mistakenly believe that these creatures store their food in dens. However, this behavior is not universal. Not all squirrels bury nuts in these areas, and some bury them in a single place.
In some cases, the location of a nut cache is not important; the type of nut matters. In addition to burying nuts in locations that are hard to reach, tree squirrels also organize their stash by traits such as size. This organizational behavior, known as “chunking,” helps the animals remember where they buried nuts. If you find a nut cache in an unusual location, it’s more likely to be safe and protected from other animals.
Northern Flying Squirrels bury fungi and lichens
Although flying squirrels eat a variety of plants and animals, the fungi and lichens they consume are of particular interest to them. Northern flying squirrels prefer to feed on fungi, which they find on the ground in mature conifer stands and mast-bearing trees. Fungi and lichens can also be found in rotting wood on forest floors, where the flying squirrels scavenge. The fungi and lichens they eat are spore-filled and pass through the flying squirrels’ digestive tracts.
A research team from the University of California Berkeley analyzed a nest of a Black-chinned hummingbird, which was found to be high in a large Pitosporum. Moreover, the lichens are also useful to wildlife, because they serve as a form of camouflage. Despite the importance of fungi in ecosystems, they also play a role in soil erosion and seasonal forages.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.