Squirrels

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Abstract

ON the lawn before the window near which I am writing is erected a tripod of three lofty poles, at the summit of which is suspended a basket containing nuts and walnuts. The squirrels, of which there are many in the shrubberies and adjoining plantations, ascend these poles, extract a nut from the basket, and quickly make their way down and across the lawn, in various parts of which they bury their nuts, scratching a hole in the green turf, putting in a nut, filling up the hole, and, lastly, with much energy, patting the loose materials with their feet till the filling-up is made firm and solid. This morning for a considerable time only one squirrel was at work, giving me a better opportunity of observing the mode of operation. His journeys were made in all directions, and varied from 5 feet to nearly 100 yards, never, so far as I could observe, going twice to the same place or even nearly so. The squirrels, I am told, forget the spots where they hide the nuts, and in the following spring the lawn, which is very spacious, is dotted with the young plants of nuts and walnuts. As the colours of flowers attracting bees and moths promote fertilisation, so the racy flavour of a nut, irresistible to a squirrel, contributes to the distribution of its kind.

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HIGGINS, H. Squirrels. Nature 15, 117 (1876) doi:10.1038/015117a0

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