Summer is here. As the sun beats down on us, we need caps and umbrellas to shield us from the harsh sunlight. So we carry them whenever we step out.
The cape ground squirrel of South Africa too carries its umbrella everywhere. It can never leave it behind even if it wants to. Do you know why? Because it uses its tail as an umbrella!
The cape ground squirrel lives in the Kalahari Desert of South Africa. It lives in burrows and not on trees, unlike others we usually see in our gardens and parks. This is because there are no trees in the desert where it can live on or use its shade. This squirrel spends its day foraging for plants and seeds around its burrow. So it cannot avoid going out in the sun. That’s when its bushy tail comes to the rescue. It uses its bushy tail to cover its head while it is searching for food. While foraging, the squirrel positions itself with its back facing the sun and its tail erect and above its head.
The squirrels spend the hottest part of the day in their burrows, which are much cooler because they are about 60 cms below the ground.