Skip to main content
The Web    CNN.com      Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Science & Space

Forgetful gray squirrels good for trees

Gray squirrels often forget where they bury nuts, which then have a greater chance of sprouting.
Gray squirrels often forget where they bury nuts, which then have a greater chance of sprouting.

Story Tools

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Follow the news that matters to you. Create your own alert to be notified on topics you're interested in.

Or, visit Popular Alerts for suggestions.

CHICAGO, Illinois (Reuters) -- Gray squirrels' faulty memories turn out to be good for forests, but the nut-hoarding habits of their red cousins are not, according to scientists.

The bane of suburban gardeners and backyard bird feeders, the ubiquitous gray squirrel buries walnuts, acorns and other nuts across the landscape in a pattern called "scatter hoarding," a Purdue University researcher said Tuesday.

Some nuts are forgotten and have a chance to germinate and sprout into black walnut, oak and hickory trees needed to regenerate steadily retreating hardwood forests.

The red squirrel, which invaded the U.S. Midwest from higher latitudes within the past century, usually piles nuts in a few above-ground caches, where the seeds dry out or are eaten.

Seven times as many walnuts gathered by gray squirrels germinate compared with walnuts hoarded by red squirrels, ecologist Rob Swihart said in a statement released by the West Lafayette, Indiana, university.

His findings were published in the latest issue of the Canadian Journal of Zoology.



Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Quake jitters hit California
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards
 
 
 
 

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.