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While it might be frustrating for squirrels to lose their carefully hidden nuts, it can be beneficial for other organisms. In particular, it can help the forest itself!

A study done at the University of Richmond cites that squirrels fail to recover up to 74% of the nuts they bury. This misplacing of so many acorns (the seeds of oak trees), the study says, is likely responsible for oak forest regeneration. When squirrels misplace these buried acorns they allow for these seeds to eventually grow into full oak trees!

The squirrels’ habit of widespread caching is also important to the growth of the forest, as it allows the genetic information to spread far.

What seemed like an innocuous scavenger hunt is actually part of an infinitely intricate ecosystem in our forests!

Source: Smithsonian Science Edu Center