The rodents are preparing for winter. Example: Trish bought a brand new car a few months ago. A few days ago, she lifted the hood to see if rodents were causing damage (a common problem here), and she discovered some little rascal was making an impressive nest on top of the engine. And chewing on wires.
The squirrels are busy burying acorns and walnuts. And here is an eastern chipmunk that was stuffing corn into its cheek pouches in our yard.
Eastern chipmunks, the only chipmunk species in Missouri, are fairly common in our area. The genus name for these chipmunks is Tamias, a Greek word meaning "a storer." Chipmunks enthusiastically gather nuts and seeds, stuff them into their cheek pouches, and carry them to their nests to build up a supply for lean times. When I say they do it enthusiastically, I mean it—a single chipmunk will usually create a cache of about a half bushel (about 4 US gallons) of seeds and nuts.
Okay, let's do some math. Eastern Chipmunks weigh about 3.5 ounces on average. A half bushel of corn weighs 26 pounds, so I'm going to estimate that a half bushel of various nuts weighs somewhat less, let's say 20 pounds, or 320 ounces. So, a 3.5-ounce chipmunk regularly gathers and hides 92 times its own weight in seeds.
Now let's imagine I'm a chipmunk, at my normal weight of 185 pounds. I would have to scour the forest floor for seeds, stuffing my cheeks full, and carrying the seeds to my nest, over and over again until I have 17,020 pounds of seeds.
Respect to the chipmunks of the world.
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