Squirrels Use Gymnastics to Navigate Treetop Canopies

August 5, 2021

In treetops all around the world, squirrels leap meters through the air to get from branch to branch. In this natural arena the squirrels scurry around to find morsels of food, all the while trying to evade occasional airborne predators such as hawks. But the speed and ease with which they navigate the challenging and unpredictable canopy environment is “spectacular,” says University of California, Berkeley, biomechanics researcher Robert Full. The animals easily land leaps several times the length of their body. And we do not really know how they do it, Full says. “How do they know that they have the capability in their body to achieve those jumps?” he asks.

Scientific American