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Gray Squirrels Digging Up Cached Acorns

1-27-16 gray squirrel cache 022If you have oak trees in the woods near you, chances are great that their acorns attracted wildlife this past fall, one of which was most likely a Gray Squirrel. Unlike Black Bears, Wild Turkeys and White-tailed Deer, which eat acorns immediately upon finding them, Gray Squirrels tend to cache acorns for winter consumption. They do so by burying them individually, often in fairly close proximity to where they find them. (Red Squirrels also cache food in the fall, but typically bury numerous seeds, mostly conifers and maples, in one spot.) When food becomes scarce, as it usually does this time of year, it is possible to find numerous holes dug in the snow, frequently with leaves and bits of acorn shells littering the snow around them. Tell-tale Gray Squirrel tracks leading to and from these holes identify the excavator.

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3 responses

  1. I was thrilled to see evidence of this in our woods just the other day. There were numerous holes dug in close proximity to each other and squirrel tracks all around.

    January 29, 2016 at 12:20 pm

  2. I plant many trees around our house and I have found that grey squirrels love to use the looser soil around my plantings to bury their nuts. This ends up with me having an underplanting of bitternuts around my apple trees!

    January 30, 2016 at 8:32 am

  3. I have heard different stories about whether squirrels remember where they buried the acorns, or locate them by smell. I tried looking into it myself but I was not able to find any confirmation one way or the other. Do you know which is true?

    January 31, 2016 at 7:40 pm

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