Why Would a Squirrel Reject Corn?
Have you ever wondered why a squirrel rejects corn? Maybe you’ve heard of the trait called hoarding ability, or you’ve wondered why squirrels can’t keep enough acorns for winter. Regardless, these traits are fascinating to observe and understand. We’ll touch on genetics, cache-pilfering, and tan in acorns.
The genetics of squirrel rejection of corn are still unclear, but researchers believe that the traits may have been transferred during domestication. The first step in domestication of corn was selective breeding, where two species of plants were crossed to produce a new variety. Afterward, humans refined their breeding skills and began engineering these plants into more desirable varieties. In addition to the commercial benefits of GM corn, many indigenous Mexican farmers also benefit from its ability to produce highly desirable varieties.
In the study, a team of researchers collected fecal samples from seven squirrels on four separate occasions. The squirrels were handled by the same person each time, and placed in a transparent plastic shoebox cage measuring 25 x 48 x 20 cm. The cage contained a plastic hiding tube and a water bottle, but no bedding. They were then offered a shelled peanut as an enrichment treat for occupation and GI motility. Females were held in the cages for 2 hours before fecal samples were collected.
The hoarding ability of squirrels is a common phenomenon in wildlife, and it is largely responsible for the diversity of their habitats. They organize their caches according to traits, including nut size, and bury them in specific locations. This method, known as “chunking,” may be related to their memory, as it may help them remember where they left certain food items. Similarly, some animals may be able to organize their caches by mental categorization.
The differences in the ability of red squirrels to occupy a territory may be linked to their sex, dominance, and age. Male red squirrels tend to occupy more territory than females, and males typically cache more cones than females. It is also possible that pilfering is a function of the amount of food stored in their middens. However, the differences between males and females in this capacity are unlikely to have anything to do with the effectiveness of red squirrels as pilferers.
Whether a squirrel is genetically predisposed to reject corn is a mystery. A recent study, conducted at the Konrad Lorenz Forschungsstelle at the University of Vienna’s Faculty of Life Sciences, uncovered that the answer lies in the way that squirrels hide food caches. Squirrels can hide food caches in two ways: they can use stones to smother the food, or they can simply pile up the rocks over them.
If you put a squirrel on a diet of only corn, it would likely refuse the food, but it would still consume a large portion of it. That’s a good thing, but the problem lies in how it processes the corn. The digestive process in a squirrel’s stomach transforms the starch into sugar and glucose, which is then turned into energy by the liver. A squirrel’s body is very sensitive to taste, which means that the taste is very important.
Tanning in acorns
If you ask a squirrel why he would reject corn, the answer will probably surprise you. While it might taste delicious, the grain doesn’t actually provide much nutrition to this omnivore. Although it is a legume, it contains protein and fat (although it’s not the same as the fat found in true nuts). The starch in corn is broken down by the liver into sugar, so it can actually give you energy. But, be careful not to feed your squirrel too much corn. A squirrel can put on a lot of weight when it is eating this diet and lose it just as easily.
A recent study found that gray squirrel populations can change dramatically. While their population peaks during years of good acorn production, they can rapidly decline when food supply drops. Historical studies have revealed extensive migrations of gray squirrels, including a large migration to Connecticut in 1933. While the exact cause of this is still unknown, the acorn shortage may be one factor in this dramatic shift. So, the answer to the question, “Why would a squirrel reject corn -genetically?” may be a mystery that can only be explained by a lack of natural food supplies.
Meats not part of a healthy squirrel’s diet
If you’ve ever wondered why a squirrel would refuse to eat corn, you’re not alone. Most squirrels don’t eat corn, but they do nibble on its leaves, stalks, and ears. Freshly picked, young leaves are preferred by squirrels, as are pesticide-free corn plants. Corn husks, the soft outer covering of the cob, are perfectly safe for your squirrel to eat, as they provide fiber. However, if you’ve tried to feed your squirrel corn on the cob, you’ve probably noticed that it has a very different taste. It’s easy to imagine how it might be to digest the corn husks, but these are not conducive for squirrels.
Interestingly, squirrels have two breeding seasons. The female enters estrus on different days throughout the year. Males usually camp out at the female’s doorstep before dawn to try to attract her. Unfortunately, most “courtship” accounts are brutal and give the female no opportunity to pick her husband. However, genetics can play a role in how different species appear. For example, a male squirrel’s coat color may be inherited from one parent, but a female squirrel will only be able to reject one parent.
Why would a squirrel reject corn that is genetically modified?
Answer 1: A squirrel would reject corn that is genetically modified because it is not natural and they can sense that it is not the same as regular corn.
What are the consequences of a squirrel eating genetically modified corn?
Answer 2: The consequences of a squirrel eating genetically modified corn are not fully known but it is possible that it could make them sick or even kill them.
How can you tell if corn is genetically modified?
Answer 3: You can’t tell if corn is genetically modified just by looking at it.
You would need to know the history of the corn and how it was grown.
Is there any difference between genetically modified corn and regular corn?
Answer 4: Yes there is a difference between genetically modified corn and regular corn.
Genetically modified corn has been altered at the DNA level while regular corn has not.
Why is genetically modified corn not natural?
Answer 5: Genetically modified corn is not natural because it has been created in a laboratory by scientists.
Where does genetically modified corn come from?
Answer 6: Genetically modified corn comes from the same place as regular corn – from seeds.
The difference is that the seeds for genetically modified corn have been altered in a laboratory.
How long has genetically modified corn been around?
Answer 7: Genetically modified corn has been around since the 1990s.
Do all countries allow genetically modified corn to be grown?
Answer 8: No not all countries allow genetically modified corn to be grown.
In fact many countries have banned it.
Is genetically modified corn safe to eat?
Answer 9: The safety of genetically modified corn is still being studied.
Some people believe it is safe to eat while others believe it is not.
How do animals react to genetically modified corn?
Answer 10: Animals react to genetically modified corn in the same way they would to regular corn.
There is no evidence that it is harmful to them.
How do scientists create genetically modified corn?
Answer 11: Scientists create genetically modified corn by altering the DNA of the corn seeds.
What is the purpose of genetically modifying corn?
Answer 12: The purpose of genetically modifying corn is to create a more pest-resistant crop.
Has genetically modified corn been successful in creating a more pest-resistant crop?
Answer 13: Yes genetically modified corn has been successful in creating a more pest-resistant crop.
Are there any other benefits to genetically modifying corn?
Answer 14: Genetically modifying corn can also lead to higher yields and a longer shelf life.
Are there any risks associated with genetically modifying corn?
Answer 15: There are some risks associated with genetically modifying corn.
There is a possibility that it could create new allergies or toxins and it could also potentially harm the environment.
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.