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Hoarders Extraordinaire

Rhona Lewis

What do we do when we need to fill up the pantry? We go to the supermarket, of course. Have you ever wondered what animals, birds, and insects do when they need to stock up? Where exactly do they go shopping and where do they keep their food stocks? Join us for a fascinating look at the ways in which animals, birds, and insects store food.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Squirrels are probably the best-known hoarders and can easily be seen before winter stashing away acorns and pine cones. There are two types of squirrels. Tree squirrels build nests out of leaves and twigs. They gather food and stash it in hidden locations close to their nests. Before winter comes, they grow a thicker fur coat and store food in their bodies by eating a lot and thus fatten themselves up. When winter comes, they keep warm in their nest, venturing out to their hidden stash of food. A squirrel usually has several caches in tree hollows and under the ground. Each cache might hold two hundred pine cones and acorns. Using their keen sense of smell, squirrels can easily locate stored food even under 3 feet (1 meter) of snow!

Ground squirrels dig tunnels and rooms under the ground. Their underground homes are quite complex, with separate rooms for food storage and sleeping. Before winter, they too fatten themselves up. When the winter comes, they cuddle together to keep warm and spend most of their time sleeping underground and sometimes nibbling at their stored food. 

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