Why Squirrel Like Acorns
Have you ever wondered why squirrels like acorns? If not, you should. Acorns are essential for their survival, as they are responsible for regenerating oak forests. When you plant an acorn, you are actually planting seeds for future forests. The same applies to acorns. The following are some of the reasons why squirrels prefer them. So, what’s so great about acorns?
If you’ve ever seen a squirrel in your yard, you’ve probably wondered why it enjoys a particular tree. Although the elusive creature has a playful demeanor, there is a serious side to his antics. When it comes to oak trees, squirrels seem to have a certain taxonomy. It seems that they quickly bury the acorns of red oaks, and then get to work eating the acorns of white oaks.
Several factors are likely to contribute to the preference for red oak over white. The most obvious reason is that red oaks produce the highest level of tannin, which protects the acorn from animals and insects during the winter. Red oaks also store acorns better than white oaks, which germinate in fall and do not need the high levels of tannin to survive. That’s why they tend to store red oak acorns better for later use.
If you’re wondering how to prevent squirrels from eating your acorns, then you need to understand a few important things. Squirrels have a highly developed strategy for storing acorns, which includes digging them up and moving them around. The acorns also contain a bitter tannin, which humans cannot stand, but many other animals have learned to tolerate and even reduce the tannin content.
The germination rate of acorns varied depending on the species. Q. mongolica, for example, produces acorns with a deep embryo, indicating a good chance for survival at low temperatures. White oaks are also subject to squirrel excision. However, squirrels didn’t seem to have any issues germination time with Q. mongolica acorns.
Acorns have a nasty taste thanks to the bitter tannins found in the raw form. The tannins that make acorns taste so bitter are secondary chemicals that plants create for protection. These chemicals prevent proteins from rotting and digestion. You might have seen these chemicals in leather or in the tannins used in tanning trees. The bitterness of acorns is a natural reaction to these chemicals and is one of the reasons why squirrels dislike acorns.
Acorns contain a substance known as gallotannins that are toxic to cattle, sheep, goats, horses, and dogs. The acorn’s flavor is also bitter to humans. In addition, it can also be toxic to other animals. Several studies have shown that gallotannins make squirrels dislike the taste of acorns. However, squirrels can tolerate these substances if they are processed correctly.
Many squirrel species like acorns and use scatter hoarding as a form of food security. The eastern gray squirrel is a great example, using its keen sense of smell to locate and collect acorns. It puts acorns in its mouth so they are coated with saliva. This coating makes acorns easier to find by smell. It even uses its sense of smell to find acorns that are buried in the ground.
Squirrels are master scatter hoarders, burying hundreds of nuts in different locations. The acorns are not just tossed into a hole; they also use paw manipulation and head flicks to select which acorn is the best. This helps the squirrels sort their larders in order of importance. They are even better at remembering which acorns they like by scent than by sight.
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.