Squirrels Are Ready For Cooler Weather, Too

Have you ever seen a splooting squirrel? 🐿

As it turns out, squirrels don’t like heat waves any more than we do.

Last week, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation tweeted that if you see a squirrel stretched out and lying down flat on his stomach, there’s no reason to be worried about him — he’s just hot.

The yoga-like position is called splooting, and aside from the funny name, splooting is an actual position that allows some animals to cool down and relax when it’s hot out.

Because squirrels have less fur on their stomachs than other parts of their bodies, splooting against the ground, in a tree (or any cool surface) helps them cool off.

“The process is called ‘heat dumping,’ and splooting can be a way that most efficiently allows an animal to reduce their body heat by transferring heat from themselves to another object,” Kathryn Johnson, a vet nurse with DodoVet, told The Dodo. “In hot weather, squirrels will do this on the ground, tree branches, shaded areas and other cool surfaces to bring down their body temperatures.”

And at this point in the summer, they need a break from the heat, just like we do. The NYC Parks tweet was a popular one with followers, prompting many to start sending in their own photos of splooting squirrels.

And it’s not just squirrels who sploot, either. Dogs and cats will lie on their tummies, too, as they try and manifest cooler weather.

There are also different types of sploots, believe it or not.

“When both hind legs are extended completely behind an animal, this is called the ’full sploot,’ and it’s also the most [common],” Johnson said. “There’s also a ‘side sploot,’ when one leg is extended out behind the animal and the other leg is stuck off to the side. The ‘half sploot’ is when one back leg extends completely out and the other leg is still tucked underneath the animal.”

So, while you might already know this is a normal position for your cat or dog, it’s also totally normal (and adorable) for squirrels, too. Here’s to cooler temperatures arriving soon!