Tag Archives: squirrels

One academic conference is enough to exhaust your brain. Two might fry it. I'm currently at the Animal Behavior Society Meeting in Princeton, NJ (more on that later). Last week I was at the International Society for Behavioral Ecology meeting in NYC.

For your reading pleasure, I have storified my tweets from the presentations that I attended - Now you can see what kind of cool, amazing science got reported there!

Day 1: August 1

Day 2: August 2

Day 3: August 4

Day 4: August 5

I also spent a few lovely days in Brooklyn, where I got to hang out with DogSpies. I also checked out the Ai Weiwei exhibit at the Brooklyn museum, ate some serious pizza, met with a fellow cat behavior consultant and hung with some friends. I have to love a place that has THIS mural!!

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You really can't make this stuff up...here's what's been putting squirrels in the headlines lately...

Squirrel cook off

Squirrels-Unlimited-World-Champion-Squirrel-Cook-OffSquirrels Unlimited isn't a support group for squirrel lovers, or a source of all things squirrels, it's a hunting club. They just announced the details for September's Squirrel Cook-Off. In case you need some time to perfect your recipes, you can read more here.

 

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Can a cat teach a squirrel to purr? Don't get too excited.

This video shows a very cute mama cat who is nursing an orphaned squirrel:

The story received over six million hits on Youtube, and there are lots of reasons we may find it irresistible: the cuteness of the animals involved; the “surprise” of a cat taking care of what would normally be potential prey – a baby squirrel; and the exotic-ness of raising a wild animal.

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Squirrel hunting...reason for concern?

Police in Carboro, NC were concerned when there were reports of drive-by squirrel hunting within city limits. The hunters couldn't be bothered to get out of their car to take a shot at the rodents, and hunting in the city is illegal.

A man in Milford, CT who shot a squirrel in his yard was charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm. An unregistered assault rifle was seized (although that's not what he shot the squirrel with), as well as several large-capacity magazines.

 

Squirrels cause problems

impaledA dog was impaled on a post after he got distracted and chased a squirrel. Luckily he's okay!

 

A woman flipped her car to avoid hitting a squirrel. The car hit a telephone pole, but the driver only suffered minor injuries.

 

 

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A little shameless self-promotion

My research examining how fox squirrels assess food and how these behaviors are influenced by factors such as season, food type and competition was recently published in PLOS|ONE, and thanks to open access, you can read it here; or you can read the abridged version at PLOS|ONE's blog, EveryONE.

Regardless, I encourage you to check out our video of these squirrel assessment behaviors:

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Squirrels cause power problems...

sanjoseA Bay Area squirrel caused a power outage which ultimately disrupted Caltrain service for commuters and cause phone problems for 42 local schools. Sources say the squirrel did not survive.

 

 

 

A squirrel also caused a power outage in Anderson, Indiana.

...and fire

A squirrel nested in a North Carolina attic, but then set its nest on fire after chewing on electrical cords. The second story of the home was damaged, but no humans were injured.

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Spiders build decoys

Spiders in both the Phillippines and Peru have been observed building decoy spiders. This behavior had never been observed before but brings up so many questions! Are there evolutionary advantages? Are some decoy spiders better than others (depending on why they do this in the first place!) Is this tool use in a spider? Can they count to eight? I see a field of research developing before our eyes!! Read more here

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The amazing staying power of squirrel nests

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Ever wondered what happens in a squirrel nest? I think about it a lot! I'd like to know if there are beer cans and chocolate bars in there, and I'd love to take a peek and squee at some baby squirrels. But I also think about squirrels in their dreys at the top of barren trees, whenever the wind gets crazy here. Are squirrels getting blown out of trees? Turns out NO - those nests are built to last! Malcolm Campbell digs deep and tells us all about it here!

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Because it's almost winter and the Ross Dress for Less ads are on all the time...

That's a lot of squirrels.
That's a lot of squirrels.

A former research assistant recently sent me this photo, mentioning that she had deliberated in the store for 10 minutes (!) about whether or not she should get this amazing squirrel-covered sweater for me. When I saw the photo, I have to admit a longing to own and wear this sweater... and I considered rushing to the store to try to find it.

This led me to thinking about my life as an animal-obsessed person. As a researcher and consultant, I have worked with pigeons, squirrels, and cats. And in my lifetime, I have received numerous gifts and tchotchkes with the aforementioned animals emblazoned on them, and they are always much appreciated.

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