Questions for ‘Squirrels use parkour tricks to leap from branch to branch’

a fox squirrel in a tree

Fox squirrels (one pictured) are furry little acrobats that can jump quickly between tree limbs. New research shows how these rodents land their leaps.

Judy Jinn, UC Berkeley

To accompany “Squirrels use parkour tricks to leap from branch to branch


Before Reading:

1. What is parkour? What types of moves are typical of a parkour expert?

During Reading:

1.  What two factors weigh into the planning of a squirrel’s jumps within tree branches, according to a new study?

2.  How did Nathaniel Hunt test this in a lab?

3.  What is Sciurus niger?

4.  How did Hunt reward his test subjects when they were successful?

5.  Which of the two factors in planning a jump was most important to them, and by how much, according to a computer model?

6.  When were squirrels likely to pull out their parkour tricks, according to the story?

After Reading:

1.  Squirrels can be amazingly clever and acrobatic. What aspect of their movements and/or skills most interests you? Now describe an experiment that someone might perform to test how squirrels learn that movement or skill.