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From the Question Board Archives:
- Date Answered: 2/26/2013
- There are so many squirrels on this campus - but where is all their poop?!
- Dear Scatman,
While squirrels may be ubiquitous on the UIUC campus, credible, scholarly information about their defecation habits is most definitely not. QB searched long and hard through the resources available in the University of Illinois library system and was unable to come up with even the faintest whiff of research on the subject. From perusing "Squirrels of North America," a reference guide to the squirrel family, QB discovered that the tree squirrels found in Illinois consist mostly of three species: the Eastern Grey Squirrel, the Eastern Fox Squirrel, and the Red Squirrel. Despite having interesting information about mass squirrel migrations and the charming 'roguery' of red squirrels, the volume contained no mention of the bathroom rituals of any species. Similarly, "Squirrels: The Animal Answer Guide," another reference volume available from the Prairie Research Institute, provided extensive information about the food-hoarding practices of tree squirrels, but nothing on their defecation. Do you know that grey squirrels locate their stored food caches more by memory than by visual or olfactory cues? QB does! Yet information about what happens to those food caches after they've been eaten proved still elusive.
After finding nothing relevant in reference books, QB turned to the huge assortment of library databases available on the library website. Certainly, QB thought, with a little effort, it should be possible to locate some articles on the subject. However, after exhaustive searching of many databases (via the easy search function) for the keyword 'squirrel' in combination with any and all synonyms for feces that a thesaurus could provide, QB was forced to admit that it was not so. It seems that, for whatever reason, the excretory functions of tree squirrels are not a subject of great scholarly interest. Fear not, however - academic research on squirrel defecation may be lacking, but the Internet at large has plentiful information on the subject, and as long as one is not looking for sources to cite in class assignments, Google results are a fine place to look for the answer to this question.
A quick Google search for 'where do squirrels poop' reveals that many people, with many differing motivations, have asked this question of the Internet before. The answers provided on various sites varied in their perceived credibility and level of detail - the most helpful came from squirrels.org, the FAQ page of which informs the reader that squirrel droppings are quite small and darkly colored, making them hard to spot. Further obstacles to locating squirrel feces are the fact that squirrels largely dwell outdoors and are constantly on the move. Like other rodents, squirrels defecate while in motion, wherever they are. One can extract from these assembled facts the following conclusion: squirrel poop is located wherever squirrels go, and since squirrels go all over campus, squirrel poop is also all over campus. If this realization alarms you, feel free to come underground and hang out with QB in the lower level of the Undergraduate Library, where squirrels only rarely venture.
Thanks for dropping by,
- Source(s) Used to Answer Question:
- Eder, Tamara (2009). Squirrels of North America. Auburn, WA: Lone Pine Publishing.
The Squirrel Place (2013.) A Squirrel Place F.A.Q. Section. Retrieved from: http://www.squirrels.org/faq.html#Q7
Thorington, Richard W (2006). Squirrels: The Animal Answer Guide. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press.