In Benin, squirrels are widely admired, indeed the national football team of Benin is called The Squirrels. The reason for this is a particular breed of squirrel called The Elephant Squirrel. This squirrel is so called, not because it is large, but because it has an excellent memory. Even the crows in Benin follow this squirrel around, hoping to take advantage of its almost miraculous ability to remember where food is buried.

The Elephant Squirrel doesn’t partake in the unseemly squabbles other squirrels become involved in over food – it lets the other squirrels fight it out. Elephant squirrels can be seen relaxing on a roof overlooking the area where the food has been found by the other animals. What this animal does do, is watch where other squirrels hide their food. It makes a mental note of these locations and then returns to these places at a later date, when the other squirrel isn’t around, and transfers the food to its own favourite hiding place.

This is an extract from the book Animals Evolution Avoided