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snopes
Return! Return! Return!


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Comment: I heard that squirrels, for whatever reason, don't remember where
they bury their nuts. I don't think it's true, or it wouldn't be
instinctive for squirrels to bury them.

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evilrabbit
Jingle Bell Hock


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In my university Psych classes, I learned that moving landmarks around the buried nuts could trick the squirrels into looking for their nuts in another spot, the conclusion being that squirrels remembered landmarks when they hid nuts.

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"My sandwich choice is uncertain, until I actually order. It's like Schrodinger's Sandwich."
"Is plutonium involved in this sandwich in any way?"
"Maybe."

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surfcitydogdad
Jingle Bell Hock


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I always carry mine with me.

But, alas, my dog left his somewhere.

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Only when we remake ourselves can we remake the world.
- Outer Limits (2001)

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Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I've heard that squirrels can't remember anything. They just dig everywhere, and now and then one finds a nut and gets to be Squirrel of the Week.

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"No hard feelin's and HOPpy New Year!"--Walt Kelly
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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Ice Age pretty much proved that they carry their nuts with them, at least to the best of their ability.

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/Troberg

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Avarice
I Am Curious, Yellowtail


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I disagree,Troeberg. Over the Hedge proved that squirrels forget where they bury their nuts. ^^


Av "No snark intended, sorry!!" arice

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I'm really sorry, 'kay?

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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But the ice age really happened, so that must be real!

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/Troberg

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Horse Chestnut
Happy Holly Days


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Gee, I wonder if there has been some kind of research done regarding this question? Why, of course there has!

And the conclusion was; squirrels have excellent memories. There not smelling where the nuts are hid. They're not just randomly stumbling on the hidden food. They actually remember where they hide things.

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Alluvian
I Saw Three Shipments


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Hrm. I wish I could remember what the show I saw this on... It wasn't mythbusters or anything like that, but an animal show. It was awhile ago, but the way they approached the problem was to bury their OWN stashes of nuts and see if any squirrels find them.

I don't recall how many nuts they buried, but it was over 20 and the results were that the squirrels found all but 1 or 2 within a year. A few of them had video cameras watching them with motion detectors and the squirrels did a lot of little scratching around but didn't dig more than one 'deep' hole to find the nut. I think the nut was only 4-6 inches deep.

Their conclusion from this was that squirrels could smell them or otherwise somehow detect that something has been buried in a given location. They further concluded, and this is not held up much by their findings, that squirrels probably didn't dig up their OWN nuts, but other nuts buried by other squirrels.

I have not read the berkely report yet to see if any of those findings are similar.

Unfortunately without a source, this memory is worthless. It is worse than friend of a friend and is the dreaded SGOTI (Some Guy On The Internet).

I hate when I remember WHAT I read/hear but not WHERE I read/hear it. BAH.

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Lhyzz
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I saw that show too, Alluvian, so at least you know you're not losing your mind.
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nurple
We Three Blings


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Hey, Lhyzz, welcome!

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"You better respect the Rap or the Rap won't respect you." Ledatru

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Delia Darrow
I Saw Three Shipments


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Forgive my late entry into this thread, but I have a bit of practical experience here. Two years ago, my DH thought it would be "cute" to entice a local squirrel into crossing our porch, and then our threshold, for a peanut.

In the last month, I've given away (for want of a better term) forty-three pounds of unshelled nuts. Forty pounds a month is the average, has been for at least a year. Brazils, almonds, pecans, walnuts and filberts (hazelnuts), to be specific. Peanuts, it turns out, aren't very good for them.

Four squirrels visit my home every day, rain or shine, one of whom works from sunup to sunset running in and out of my house with booty. I try to keep the supply steady, as they have learned to use my cat-door, and wreak havoc if they come in and aren't met by a huge box of nuts.

Squirrels remember where they stash things, but they also have a keen sense of smell. My usual squirrel has stashed nuts all over my house, inside as well as out. Why she bothers to take a nut from the box in the living room and bury it in a houseplant four feet from the nut box, I have no idea.

Her houseplant-digging gave me the opportunity to fool with her a bit. She buries nuts about 3 inches down. I took note of where she buried nuts for a week, removed half of them, moved the plants around and locked up the supply. After letting me know she was desperately hungry by searching every square inch of me (cold nose in my ear!), and searching the coffee table for the candy dish, she went to look for her own stock.

In the plants that I had removed the nuts from, she barely scratched the surface soil before moving to the next location. She knew the nut was gone. I can only assume she could smell the cache was missing. She went about retrieving all the Brazils first (her fave) not wavering a bit from a course of checking only those plants she had secreted nuts in.

After eating the Brazils she impressed me further by climbing up over my snake cage and my TV to get at a box that unbeknownst to me had a few stray nuts at the bottom. I had never seen her up there before, and can only assume (again) that she could smell that stash. She certainly has no problem with the 'pick the hand' game.

As for them stashing only one nut per hole, it's not true. I have seen her and her son shove three almonds in their mouths all at once, take them outside, and bury them all in one hole. It's actually pretty amusing to offer three (unshelled) almonds at once and see #1 try various combinations until she has them all securely stuffed in her mouth.

Also, for these squirrels at least, they don't wait until fall to start stashing nuts. As a matter of fact, they take them from me, eat them, and hide them all year round.

I find nuts stashed all over my house nowdays. Squirrels don't stick to digging in the dirt. I've found nuts in coat pockets, folded linens, and couch cushions. I would not be much surprised to find some in the 'fridge, eventually.

Another interesting trait is their affinity for sweets, especially chocolate. I've had them drag whole 12oz bags of Reese's out the cat door and onto the porch to despoil. I had #1 even stealing some mint-flavor-coated tylenol from my purse and gnawing off the coating. I did try to stop her.

They really are cute creatures. Wild animals, tho, with sharp NFBSKing teeth. Can't forget it. Like Dave Letterman said about the Shamu problem this week; "Hey, it's a Killer Whale. It's not like you didn't see it's resume."

~Delia

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Cogito, ergo Dei non est.

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