The heat is making squirrels ‘sploot’ — a goofy act that signals something serious

Squirrels are adopting the behavior of “splooting” to cope with rising temperatures, linked to climate change.

Observable behaviors: Splooting involves animals finding cool surfaces and lying on their stomachs with legs spread to cool off.
* Sunny Corrao of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation describes it as transferring heat away from the animal’s body onto a cooler surface.

The bigger picture: This response to heat is growing more common with climate change causing more extreme heat events.
* Methods of cooling off differ among animal species; dogs pant, birds dunk themselves in water and squirrels now sploot.
* Splooting squirrels appearing across social media indicate that they’re experiencing higher temperatures than normal.

Expert insights: Climate change is pushing temperatures beyond squirrels’ typical ability to withstand, says Carlos Botero, an associate professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin.
* The recent heat index in Austin achieved record-breaking values, reaching up to 118 degrees.

Looking ahead: As long as extreme heat persists, more splooting behavior can be expected from squirrels, though its effectiveness may decrease if temperatures soar further.
* Andrea Rummel, an incoming assistant professor of biosciences at Rice University, points out like human sweating, squirrel splooting too has a limit to its effectiveness in cooling off before it doesn’t work anymore.

View original article on NPR

This summary was created by an AI system. The use of this summary is subject to our Terms of Service.

Contact us about this post






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *