Squirrels go nuts in the fall. As soon as there are more nuts or acorns than squirrels can consume, they begin to bury or pile them up for future use. They don't hunt for them again until winter, when their food supply is less abundant. A team of researchers in Toronto found that, contrary to popular belief, the squirrels that bury the nuts or acorns aren't the ones that dig them up later. Gray squirrels have a keen sense of smell and find the "buried treasure" that way - not through memory. They can often sniff a nut through as much as 12 inches of snow. Because squirrels find only a portion of the nuts or acorns buried each autumn, they are instrumental in "planting" new trees each year.
Sources: 'America's Favorite Backyard Wildlife,' by Kit and George Harrison; Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Science NetLinks