While humans store food to eat later, we’re not the only animal that plans ahead. There are plenty of wild animals that hoard food as well. In fact, some animals actually depend on these food stores to stay alive! Read on to learn more about the types of animals that store food.
10 Animals That Store Food
It can be hard for squirrels to find food in the winter, which is why they collect and store enough food to keep them fed all winter long. Many squirrels also put on extra weight before the winter so that they can stay warm.
Other animals, including other squirrels, will steal from a squirrel’s food caches, which means a squirrel could lose as much as 25% of the food it hoards away. That’s why many squirrels have multiple underground stockpiles of foods like nuts, seeds, and berries.
While birds are known for hoarding shiny objects, like coins and jewelry, they also store food. Birds are highly intelligent and are able to think about what they might need in the future. If a bird is concerned it won’t have enough to eat, it will store food for later.
Some bird species that are known for storing food include woodpeckers and western scrub jays, which use their excellent memory to keep track of hidden food stores. The corvid is also amazingly adept at storing food and can remember as many as 200 food caches.
There’s a good chance that you’ve seen a hamster storing food in its cheeks! Hamsters are capable of packing up to 20% of their body weight in food in their cheek pockets.
In the wild, hamsters don’t keep food in their cheeks. Instead, they take it back to their burrow, where they store the food to eat later.
Ants live in colonies and work together to survive. Some ant species, like fire ants, will carry and store foods in their nests so that the entire colony has enough to eat.
Other ants, like honeypot ants, actually store food in their stomachs. Ants will stuff themselves with the honey and let other ants take food from their bodies, serving as a living food cache!
5. Mountain Lions
Mountain lions are known for being big eaters. In fact, a single mountain lion can eat as much as 30 pounds of meat in one meal!
To make sure they have enough to eat, mountain lions often store prey and hide it beneath leaves, sticks, and other types of debris. A food store like this can provide food for up to 10 days.
Even though chipmunks hibernate during the winter, they don’t stay dormant all winter long. Instead, chipmunks go into a period of low activity during colder months and wake up every few days for a snack.
During this time, chipmunks rely on the food that they’ve stored in their burrows. Chipmunks don’t have to eat much during the winter, but they do have to hoard some food to survive.
Mice are known for stealing food from households that they’ve infested! Usually, mice will store food within 10 feet of their nest so that they can keep it safe.
Rats are close relatives of mice and are also known for hoarding food. In fact, there are some rat species, like kangaroo rats, that have pouches in their cheeks just like hamsters do!
Moles spend most of their time underground, especially during the winter, when moles huddle in their burrows. Since moles can’t dig for food when the ground is frozen, they need to store food before temperatures drop.
Earthworms are one of a mole’s main food sources, which is why moles will store hundreds of worms to eat during the winter. Instead of killing the worms they store, moles usually use toxins to paralyze worms and store them alive.
A crab is willing to eat just about any food it finds while it’s foraging, including fish, worms, plants, snails, and, if necessary, other crabs. Some species of crab will also store food to make sure they always have enough to eat.
One type of crab that’s known to store food is the fiddler crab, which stores algae and other foods to eat later. In studies, researchers found that crabs would also store larger food sources when it was provided to them, including carrion!
Even though shrews are tiny, they have incredible appetites! In fact, a shrew can die if it goes more than a few hours without eating.
To make sure that they don’t run out of things to eat, shrews use the venom in their saliva to paralyze prey like snails and insects. A single bite from a shrew can keep its prey in a comatose state for days or even weeks!