Patriots, hard to believe but there are those who think skwerls are timid, slightly dim, definitely defenseless little bushytails of love. In fact, they are conniving, slavering nutzys who'll use any mechanism, any scheme to bring squirrel world domination to fruition...
Squirrels Use Snake Scent
University of California - Davis
California ground squirrels and rock squirrels chew up rattlesnake skin and smear it on their fur to mask their scent from predators, according to a new study by researchers at UC Davis.
Barbara Clucas, a graduate student in animal behavior at UC Davis, observed ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) and rock squirrels (Spermophilus variegates) applying snake scent to themselves by picking up pieces of shed snakeskin, chewing it and then licking their fur.
Adult female squirrels and juveniles apply snake scent more often than adult males, which are less vulnerable to predation by snakes, Clucas said. The scent probably helps to mask the squirrel's own scent, especially when the animals are asleep in their burrows at night, or to persuade a snake that another snake is in the burrow.
The squirrels are not limited to the use of shed snake skins, said Donald Owings, a professor of psychology at UC Davis who is Clucas' adviser and an author on the paper. They also pick up snake odor from soil and other surfaces on which snakes have been resting, and use that to apply scent. Other rodents have been observed using similar behavior.
"It's a nice example of the opportunism of animals," Owings said. "They're turning the tables on the snake."
The other authors on the paper, which was published Nov. 28 in the journal Animal Behavior, are Matthew Rowe, Sam Houston State University, Texas, and Patricia Arrowood at New Mexico State University. The work was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Animal Behavior Society.
Source: UC Davis News and Information
Patriots, what can we surmise from this study? How about, you can't tell a book by its cover? Or maybe the ever-popular, beware a wolf in sheep's clothing?
These and other admonishments are appropriate, but the stock incantation that fits best is "you are what you eat."
Now, some of you already know where we're going with this. The Clucas study indicates that a skwerl can eat a snake and by doing so fool other snakes into thinking it's one of them.
So, what's to stop a slavering bushytail from eating a human and aquiring all the attributes of that person as well as the bushytail hordes' maniacal drive for squirrel world domination? (Click skwerl for comment)
In this "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" scenario, would we be able to tell who amongst us is really a skwerl and who isn't? And who's to say it hasn't happened already? After all, everyone knows someone whose behavior they consider "skwerly." And how about some of those politicians and world leaders? Certainly, their policies and acts can only benefit those seeking squirrel world domination...
CLICK TO HEAR TUFTY SING
SHARP DRESSED MAN
ATTENTION SKWERLHUGGERS: Are you appalled by this skwerlien chicanery? Are you prepared to reject skwerlhuggery and the false promises of squirrel world domination but can't quite break away from your addiction? May we suggest joining Skwerlhuggers Anonymous - the easy 3-step program that will free you from the shackles of skwerlien oppression...
JOIN SKWERLHUGGERS ANONYMOUS
MORE SCIENCE IN ACTION
LET IT SNOW
HOT TO HUMP
THE COOKIE MONSTER
ASK THE EXPERTS
CALIFORNIA GROUND SQUIRREL GALLERY
ANIMAL BEHAVIOR SOCIETY
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
Thanx to Patriot Panu for tipping us to this study