A very familiar sight for us up here at Davis, I believe this here’s a Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger). These squirrels assess nut quality through handling and then make decisions on whether to cache the nut for later or eat it right away depending on its overall value. I also learned from an opening talk at SWOB (Southwest Regional Meeting of Organismal Biologists) a few years ago that squirrels are able to climb down trees facing downward because they are able to rotate their paws 180 degrees to do so! You can count on learning some really cool things at scientific conferences.
[Photo and caption by Cassidy Cooper]
Preston, S. D., & Jacobs, L. F. (2009). Mechanisms of cache decision making in fox squirrels (Sciurus niger). Journal of Mammalogy, 90(4), 787-795.
[Edited by Maggie Creamer]