Some people would call this squirrel a thief or a criminal mastermind, but the Elephant Squirrel isn’t completely heartless. It will leave exactly 33% of the food for the other squirrel to eat. This means that the other squirrel, who doesn’t have an excellent memory, will think that the food in its hiding place was all it ever had and won’t think its supplies have been taken away.

Elephant Squirrels tend to be rather overweight as they don’t scurry around all the time, but watch what’s going on and what evolves as regards any particular situation. In memory tests, Elephant Squirrels on average remembered the location of 98 caches of nuts out of 100. One such squirrel, called Sylvester, was able to remember the site of 154 separate caches with 100% accuracy.

This is an extract from the book Animals Evolution Avoided