Professor Kelly Drew of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks has discovered that arctic squirrels lose synapses in their brains when they hibernate. What is remarkable is that when they wake up, the synapses grow back. “Synapses sprout when the animals re-warm. Indeed animals learn better after they come out of hibernation,” she states. Understanding how the squirrels do this could be the watershed moment for Alzheimer’s patients. We at The Edge of the Wood wish Dr. Drew much luck with her ground squirrel…oops we mean ground breaking discoveries.
Here at the Edge of the Wood we are not sure if the residents organize into pee-wee soccer leagues when our backs are turned, but we do know they are extreme parkour practitioners. Squirrels have padded feet that cushion jumps from up to 20 feet and can run 20 mph. So next time you are choosing up sides for soccer, you might want to look up in a tree and ask a squirrel. Just make sure the ball isn’t made of peanuts.
- A new study finds that songbirds follow a strict annual schedule when migrating to their breeding grounds – with some birds departing on precisely the same date each year. How do they know? Science has yet to discover the secret. In the meantime let’s welcome our migrating friends with fresh fruit and sunflower seeds. What could be more inviting?
To become a city squirrel of course. “As we rapidly increase the spread of urbanisation around the world, urban areas may end up being important places for some wildlife, so it would be good to know what they like about those areas, what allows them to do well.” says Dr Bill Bateman, “We need to know how we can help their continued success, and perhaps encourage other animals to share our urban spaces.” It seems squirrels are brilliant at living in cities as long as they can find a wide varied of foods to eat, and green spaces to chill in. Here At The Edge of The Wood we wish our city cousins the best…but the porch light will always be on.