Picture yourself on a warm summer’s day, sitting in the grass in the shade of a beautiful oak tree and listening to the rustle of the leaves.
Does this scene appeal to you? Then you may want to thank a squirrel.
The majority of hardwood trees that aren’t planted by humans are planted by squirrels.
Every fall in an oak forest, the trees produce thousands of acorns that fall to the ground. The squirrels then get busy burying them in the ground for the winter.
Unlike a chipmunk, which will cache nuts in a single place— its burrow. Grey squirrels (and fox squirrels) are “scatter hoarders.”
These squirrels will bury nuts in hundreds of different locations, and research has shown that they use their amazing memory to locate them later.
Even though squirrels can remember the location of hundreds of cached nuts, inevitably a few acorns will be forgotten and will sprout into the next generation of oak trees.
This ensures the renewal of the forest, and the very trees the squirrels depend on.