Now, I'm not normally inclined to watch squirrels—I'm not a squirrel-fancier or anything weird. I don't care what they're doing out there in my yard when I'm not looking. And, as long as it doesn't impact my home's resale value, what they do with their own time is their own business. However, on occasion, I do get to witness their activities in the wild, and a number of questions come to mind. Three, to be precise.
1.) Do squirrels have an acorn-based monetary system?
The way squirrels compulsively bury acorns leads me to believe that these lawn rats use them for more than just a food source. Squirrels only need a small amount of calories to survive, so why do they stockpile so many? Are acorns are their fiat currency? Are they a medium of exchange with which squirrels can barter for goods and services?
2.) Are there any acorn banks or exchanges?
Assuming that one oak tree can drop 10,000 acorns a year, and there are three trillion trees on the planet, surely there must be an entity to manage and store acorns for the tens of billions of squirrels still paying off college debt. If so, what's their current acorn-to-dollar exchange rate? And how do I get in on this deal?
3.) Do squirrels understand the concept of property rights?
As I said, I don't typically study squirrels, and I don't know if some of them are studying law in night school. But do these synanthropes understand that they're on my property? Or that, by burying their acorns in my yard, the acorns effectively become my acorns?
Do they understand that I'd be well within my legal rights to take the nuts they're “squirreling” away and sell them to wealthier yet less foresighted rodentia? Because I sold half their acorn stash to a preppy chipmunk in his tiny BMW for seventeen dollars.
I'm sitting on the rest until Matt Damon inevitably starts investing in acorns.
Squirrel photo by Sam Luyk