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How do squirrels find buried nuts? © Getty Images

How do squirrels find buried nuts?

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These busy little mammals use their heads more than their noses.

Asked by: Stephen Carter, Preston

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It was once thought that they just used their noses to sniff out buried nuts and that the majority were never actually located. But a 1990 study at Princeton University showed that squirrels actually have a good memory and can build a map of the route from one hidden nut to the next. They still use smell to find the caches of other squirrels, but they find a lot more of their own by memory.


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Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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