Posted: Apr 21, 2018 12:04 am
by The_Piper
I can empathize with squirrels and woodchucks. :shifty:
Believe it or not, tree squirrels are said to have theory of mind. They don't like for other squirrels to see where they bury food. Sometimes even pretending to bury it when another one is watching, but actually carrying it away to bury it somewhere else.

I found this abstract explaining what I mean.
Behavioural deception has been studied experimentally primarily in captive-raised primates and corvids, and only in a laboratory setting. Here we show that free-living eastern grey squirrels, Sciurus carolinensis, caching food in the presence of conspecifics perform behavioural deception by covering additional empty sites where nothing has been cached. Such deceptive caching (1) occurred in two distinct populations, (2) occurred more often in the close presence of conspecifics and (3) reduced the probability of cache pilferage by surrogate (human) cache pilferers. In an additional experiment, in which we attempted to elicit deceptive behaviour by pilfering caches, deceptive caching appeared as one behaviour in a suite of pilferage-avoidance responses. To our knowledge, this is the first study to show evidence of behavioural deception by a rodent, and the first to use an experimental approach to studying deceptive behaviour in the wild.