All of us experience the fearless, foraging squirrels on a nearly daily basis, but these squirrels are a lot smarter than we might think. Maybe the atmosphere of academia is rubbing off on them? … Or maybe the squirrels are rubbing off on Berkeley?

Researchers have been observing how the squirrels here actually save food for the future. They either eat the nuts they find or look for places to bury them, sometimes travelling as far as 100 meters. This behavior is called “cacheing.” Who knew these fox squirrels were so forward-thinking? Every nut is precious, especially in this economy.

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EvQKRRHF6Dpc4x0Nhs0rtPoqDEMYTyK8MyvKh75vu0QzhSsyJFLtWsw_iPLcxwIfN_B1MISXr6gToday we logged all the things that were on the sidewalk that were not concrete, and a few things we remember once seeing.

This is how we break it down:

Tire marks, rubber soles, crooked cigarettes,

Broken beer bottles, a Racer 5 sticker, a squirrel with criminal intent, read more »

Let’s not kid ourselves, finals week is the time we need stupid, adorable distractions the most. As our brains slowly return  from a mushy state after each completed exam, only cute animals provide the antidote that is needed for a full recovery. And so, we at the Clog are pleased to present you with “This week in squirrels!” Five photos of five Berkeley squirrels so that you can make it the end of the week without becoming a total nut job. Don’t over-think it.


squirrel 1

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Truer words have never been spoken.

Yeah, we figured that little PR gem deserved its own line. Anyhoodle, the aforementioned title refers to an emergency preparedness drill going on across campus this morning (Thursday) from 8:30 until 11:30 a.m. So if you see unusual things happening that look like they might be helping people prepare for emergencies, don’t be alarmed. HA. Get it?

Image Source: thebadastronomer under Creative Commons
Earthquake drill on Thursday will test campus emergency preparedness [NewsCenter]

Perhaps tired of turning around and finding their lunches being sampled upon by rodents, scientists at UC Davis are test-driving a program that’ll tamp down the rapidly multiplying squirrel population on campus. It’s squirrel birth control! Officials say students and faculty will catch the critters and inject them with hormones, then release them back into the wild, where the squirrels will continue to do as squirrels do, except without the tremendous rates of procreation and the itty-bitty progeny.

Officials also said that there were no squirrels–or no nonnative tree squirrels–seven years ago, but that there are 400 now. According to doctoral students, the squirrels can cause grievous harm to people, chew through orchards of almonds and walnuts, eat baby birds and wreck power supplies by snacking on tasty electrical wires.

We’ve heard horror stories about the squirrels at UCLA, but Davis is different in that it’s got 5,300 acres of attractive habitat. And we think we have it bad here.

Image Source: swafo under Creative Commons
UC Davis: Troublesome, Non-native Squirrels Will Get Birth-control Shots [Physorg]

The biggest story this week is the resignation (or forced resignation, whichever you want to believe) of UC President Robert Dynes. But, as always, there are other things going on in the UC system. And there’s no better start than to talk about squirrels.

First Up…Squirrels Can Fend Off Rattlesnakes?

Yep. Well, at least that’s what the research coming out of the Animal Behavior Graduate Group at UC Davis said.

How does the squirrel do it? He (or she; it if you will) somehow heats up his (or her) tail and shakes it “aggressively.”

We guess there is some sort of benefit to having all those squirrels around campus.

But squirrels can only fend off rattlesnakes. Researchers tried testing this method by introducing gopher snakes to squirrels. The squirrels waved their tales vigorously, but didn’t heat them up.

Oh well. You can’t always be perfect.

Once Every Four Year Conference Heads to UCSB

We guess UC Santa Barbara is heading up the prestige level. First it held the UC Regents meetings a few months ago, and now it gets this conference that’s held only once every four years.

The conference is about Antarctica and is being sponsored by Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research and the U.S. National Science Foundation.

What will they be talking about? Well, science-y things. Like:

  •  Antarctic Climate Evolution –– Global Linkages from Records in Ice Cores, Geological Cores, Outcrops, and Models
  •  GeoCryoDynamics –– Feedbacks and Coupling between the Geosphere, Cryosphere and Climate
  •   Antarctica in the Global Geodynamic System
  •   Antarctic Earth Science in the International Polar Year
  •   Polar Education and Outreach Initiatives
  •   Antarctica’s Impact on Global Biosphere Evolution
  •   New Frontiers in Technologies and Polar Databases

Ok, so you can figure it out.

Dynes to Conduct Interviews for UC Santa Cruz Chancellor

Dynes may be leaving his post, but that’s not going to prevent him from naming a new chancellor over on the Santa Cruz campus.

The reason why he says he’ll still be conducting the search is because, well, he’s still president of the UC.

But this process can still take several months—it kind of already has.

bq. The search for a permanent chancellor got under way when an advisory committee was formed in March. That group has met several times.

bq. UC spokesman Paul Schwartz said Dynes is “still hoping to bring a recommendation to the board sometime within the next few months”

California squirrels fend off rattlesnakes by heated tails [USA Today]
Major international conference on Antarctica to be held at UC Santa Barbara this month [First Science]
Dynes says interviews on tap today for UC Santa Cruz chancellor [Sentinel]