Many of us need to make marks on places to remember exactly where we put certain things. For squirrels, however, a great memory is something that they have, and they can actually remember where they stored their nuts without the need of any markers. Primarily, squirrels were thought to use smell to remember the spots where the food was stored, but according to research conducted recently; memory has been seen to play a very big part in the retrieval of the food.
Different squirrels use different methods of storing food. There are those who use a central location, referred to as a midden, that is within their own territory. This is what is called larder hoarding. Usually, such a midden is within tree cavities or beneath leaves or within the forks of branches. There are some squirrels that store the food for only short periods, like the African tree squirrel which sticks partially eaten nuts in branches only to show up some hours later.
The common way in which squirrels store their food is through burying it in caches that are well scattered all around the territory, and these are dug up later when there is a scarcity of food like in the winter. This is something that actually favors them because other animals may not be able to steal the reserve because it is spread out.
Smell is used to uncover the area where the food is hidden but only partially. This has also been used to detect other caches of other animals, making it possible for them to steal it. Scent can be unreliable at times, especially when it snows or when the ground is very dry and the squirrels choose to dig up their own caches.
Grey squirrels can remember the location of the nits due to their spatial memory. They will often go to their own caches rather than the caches of others. They use landmarks to help when they want to locate the nuts.
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