Squirrels might be some of the cutest creatures in all of the Universe, but they can still have some surprising and eyebrow-raising gestures. It’s summer out there, and not even animals are comfortable when it comes to dealing with the sun’s intense heat. While squirrels didn’t figure out how to use ventilators, as far as we know, they have other methods to keep cool. One of them is by splooting, meaning that the animal sits sprawling on the ground like it wants to hug the entire world.
The ‘NYC Parks’ Twitter account said about the squirrels’ splooting gesture:
If you see a squirrel lying down like this, don’t worry; it’s just fine. On hot days, squirrels keep cool by splooting (stretching out) on cool surfaces to reduce body heat. It is sometimes referred to as heat dumping.
If you see a squirrel lying down like this, don't worry; it's just fine. On hot days, squirrels keep cool by splooting (stretching out) on cool surfaces to reduce body heat. It is sometimes referred to as heat dumping. pic.twitter.com/pD1T3lPbBH
— NYC Parks (@NYCParks) August 9, 2022
The splooting gesture is not new at all in the world of mammals. Dogs have also been seen doing the same ‘trick.’ Plenty of animals lie on their bellies because that’s the area of their body where less fur exists. Therefore, they can cool down in this way, according to The Guardian.
However, if animals had been lying on the ground with their limbs stretched for ages, the ‘splooting’ term is a pretty new one. Grant Barrett, who’s a lexicographer, explained a bit about the origins of the word. He also added, as The Guardian quotes:
I think that this whole batch of language really also comes from not just your natural tendency to talk to animals in a cute way, like you would a baby, but in your natural tendency to welcome them as a thinking being,
By naming this action that is so common among animals, you’re giving them agency.
Another amazing fact about squirrels is that one of these animals’ front teeth never stops growing.