A surprising finding in a new study reveals a peculiar habit among red squirrels. These animals are capable of predicting the time for the forests’ flooded with seeds. The squirrels sense that in advance, and then produce a second litter of young!
American red squirrels dine almost exclusively on the seeds hidden in spruce-tree cones, and so have to reproduce when can feed their young with the specific diet! But, the Eurasian red squirrels feed on various pine-tree seed-varieties, unlike the red squirrels.
Lead researcher Stan Boutin of the University of Alberta said,
Lots of animals time their reproduction to match predictable increases in resources like the new growth of plants every spring.
But the interesting twist here is that these squirrels have figured out a way to produce this second litter of babies at a time when they have little food and before an ‘unpredictable’ boom in seed production.
These new findings are reported in details in the journal Science’s Dec. 22 issue.