It's time for a brand new edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

It's time for a brand new edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

It's time for a brand new edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Eastern gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) are one of those critters that are so ubiquitous that we don't think much about them. It's not exactly hard to find a gray squirrel, as anyone who owns a bird feeder can attest. However, squirrels are truly remarkable animals, and they play an important role in their ecosystem.

Most people know that squirrels bury and cache nuts to sustain themselves through the winter months. However, you might not know that squirrels lose about a quarter of those nuts to burglars! Birds and other squirrels will steal buried nuts, but squirrels have a trick up their furry sleeves; they'll sometimes dig a hole and cover it up without placing a nut in it solely to throw off any thieves that may be watching! The process is known as "deceptive caching."

Of course, squirrels lose a lot of nuts to simple forgetfulness; they can't always remember where they buried them. This is a great thing for our forests, however, as the forgotten nuts germinate in the spring and produce new trees! Squirrels are excellent environmentalists, albeit unintentionally.

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

map of Virginia and surrounding areas

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