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preservedrying

Drying preservesPosted: August 27, 2012

By Larry Halverson/Friends of Kootenay

This time of year red squirrels are busy collecting and storing food from early morning until dusk. One well-known trait is their love for Douglas fir cones, but they actually eat a wide variety of other foods, including bark, tree buds, berries and even mushrooms.

Have you ever noticed on your walks in the forest that the tops of some mushrooms are missing? Well, you may be looking at the work of squirrels. Red squirrels collect mushrooms and set them out to dry on tree branches before storing them away for the winter. They can even eat mushrooms that are poisonous to humans, such as various kinds of Amanita mushrooms.

Above: Red Squirrels dry mushrooms on sun-soaked branched before storing them.
 Right: Mushroom cache in a tree snag – Photos by Larry Halverson

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