Weekly Puzzler Answer #59

squirrel-2833So is THIS a sound you’ve heard before? Maybe when you were out hiking in the woods. If you looked for its source you would have found a GRAY SQUIRREL! They often make this noise when potential danger is nearby, be it a bird of prey like a hawk or a ground predator like a cat or fox. The noise is often associated with a waving of their tail. Do they make it to warn other squirrels that danger is nearby or to let the potential predator know that they’ve been spotted? A study by some folks at the University of Miami  shed some light on those questions, discovering that squirrels actually have three different calls. The biologists conducting the study– McRae and Green- found that “the squirrels have an alarm system with different degrees of specificity. Some, but not all, of the alarm signals were associated with predator type, and combinations of tail signals and vocalizations were more strongly associated with threats than either type of signal alone.” Read more from their research HERE.

squirrel-6542Next time you’re out in the woods and hear this, you’ll know it’s a sure thing you’ve been spotted by a Gray Squirrel! The forest has eyes–someone always seems to be watching!

Happy trails! Check out the next Puzzler HERE or if you’d like, here’s a past puzzler that addressed how gray squirrels spend the winter or another one that talked some wart-like growths they sometimes have.



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