This week's squirrel spotlight star 🐿🌟is the eastern fox squirrel! This happens to be my personal favorite squirrel species. I am probably bias because I have spent most of my time as a squirrel gazing student 🐿👀🎓 working with this clever urban dwelling species.
I could talk for days about eastern fox squirrels! So, to keep myself on track I have narrowed down what I think are the top 5 coolest facts about fox squirrels*.
* Some of these facts apply to other squirrel species as well!
Top 5 coolest facts about fox squirrels 😎🐿
1.) Their brains grow to help them remember where they store their nuts! During the time of year fox squirrels need to focus on storing food for the winter they experience neurogenesis (growth of new brain cells called neurons) in the part of the brain involved with memory, the hippocampus. This is thought to assist them in remembering where they stash all their food!
2.) Fox squirrels ankles can turn 180 degrees! This allows them to quickly climb down trees 🌲head first!
3.) Fox squirrels use their heads to weigh nuts still inside their shell! 🌰Referred to by Squirrel Gazers as a "head flick," a squirrel will place an unshelled nut in her mouth and quickly shake her head. This allows her to use momentum to ensure there is something inside the shell worth burying and estimate its weight.
4.) They help plant trees! 🌲The acorns they bury and forget to dig up can grow up to become trees.
5.) Fox squirrels survive in urban environments 🐿🚎🏙. Humans are invading most of the natural land left on earth. Most of the time when humans move into an area animals move out or struggle to survive. Aside from having to avoid traffic 🐿🙅🏻🚗, fox squirrels have made themselves at home among us. These urban tree dwelling cuties may have a lot to teach us about the types of traits that make animals successful living amongst humans.
(Jacobs L.F. , 1996); (Preston & Jacobs, 2009)