Myth: Do Squirrels Forget Their Nut Hiding Places?

For a long time, squirrels were said to be forgetful and unable to remember their nut hiding places. If they find their supplies again in winter, it is just a coincidence, it was said. The cute animals are much smarter than expected. This squirrel is happy about the found nut - Shutterstock / Jarry

If you watch squirrels gathering supplies before winter, from a human point of view it always looks very busy and haphazard. It also seems that the cute Puschel immediately forget most of their nut hiding places. However, this is not true.

Squirrels have a fine sense of smell

Squirrels may not find all of their nut hiding places, but at least they discover enough of their supplies not to starve in winter. This is largely thanks to their fine noses. The rodents sniff nuts that are buried up to 30 centimeters deep under the snow. Thanks to their tactile hair (vibrisses), squirrels can orient themselves well in the dark and then dig out the supplies.

Funny Squirrel: "Not Without My Nut!"

Forgot nut hiding places? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that!

Now it could be objected that squirrels still forget their own nut hiding places and not starve because they sniff and eat the food of their peers. However, a study by the University of Princeton has disproved these prejudices. They gave eight squirrels ten hazelnuts each. Each croissant was allowed to hide its nuts alone in the garden, with the scientists noting exactly which rodent had buried its supplies and where.

After up to twelve days, the squirrels returned to the garden and were allowed to dig up their nuts again. It turned out that the pompoms mostly found food from their own hiding places. Pretty cute, these squirrels!

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