Squirrels Can Remember Where They Put Nuts Two Months Ago


Let’s do a little experiment, shall we? Go into your kitchen and take out a nut. Any kind – almond, walnut, peanut, doesn’t really matter at this juncture. Then go out into your yard (or if you don’t have a yard, the nearest public park) and hide it somewhere safe. The next step is the hardest: let 60 days go by. We’ll wait. Now go find your nut. Couldn’t do it? Too bad. Squirrels can.

The Kane County Chronicle ran a pretty interesting article on the ability of squirrels to track down nuts and seeds over long periods of time. Sciurus carolinensis, the common gray squirrel, displays a staggering potency in spatial memory. They are able to orient their position based on landmarks and other stimuli to relocate their winter food rapidly and accurately.

Here’s the other part of the experiment we describe above: you had to find a single nut. The average gray squirrel stashes thousands of them for the cold months, and it’s only due to this incredible memory for nut locations that they can survive at all. The Ball Report is all about taking care of your nuts and remembering to check them every month for possible signs of testicular cancer, so maybe we should take some advice from the squirrels and sharpen our memory.