Tampa Bay Squirrels Are Splooting
Tampa Bay Squirrels Are Splooting. Have you seen those adorable photos and videos of squirrels lying flat on their stomachs with their limbs stretched out? It turns out, this behavior is called “splooting.” Wildlife experts say it’s a funny but normal way for animals to cool down during hot weather. And boy, have we been experiencing scorching temperatures lately!
Just recently, southern states from Texas to Florida have been battling extreme heat, with temperatures reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s been tough for humans, with heat-related deaths and emergencies on the rise. But guess what? Animals are also trying to beat the heat. They don’t have cold beer like us. So, Tampa Bay Squirrels are Splooting! I’ve seen them splooting on the tree in our front yard in Seminole.
At Inks Lake State Park in Texas, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department caught a squirrel splooting in the shade. They shared a video on Facebook, and it struck a chord with social media users. People began sharing their own splooting pictures of squirrels and even pets.
The rare vertical sploot. pic.twitter.com/YgBy2gya4F— National Park Service (@NatlParkService) June 6, 2023
While splooting isn’t new, the recent surge in awareness may be thanks to smartphones. People can easily capture and share photos of animals sprawled out on cool surfaces. But as temperatures continue to rise due to climate change, splooting might not be enough to keep animals cool.
According to bioscientist Andrea Rummel, there is a limit to every thermal regulation mechanism. Just like humans sweating, animals have their limits too. If the environmental temperature becomes too high or humid, these cooling mechanisms become less effective.
And guess what? Squirrels aren’t the only ones who sploot. Dogs, cats, and even large mammals join in on the fun. If you encounter an animal splooting on a hot day, it’s best to leave it alone. But there is something you can do to support wildlife in general—provide them with a source of clean, fresh water. Even heat-loving species need hydration to thrive.
So, the next time you see a squirrel or (a friend) any other animal splooting, enjoy the cuteness but remember the importance of keeping our furry friends cool and hydrated during these hot summer days. Smithsonian