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THE RED SQUIRREL.   123

same. Our red squirrel keeps up a family habit when he lays aside something he may need further on in the season ; but how does he come to cut and hide the cones before the seeds in them are ripe, but just in the nick of time," if he is to get them at all ? Let us consider the case. The cones hang tips downward from the ends of the branches. When the seeds are ripe the scales over them become dry and curl up-ward, and the winds toss the branches, and the winged seeds fall out during the highest winds and are scattered wide away. Now it is clear that the squirrel could not get the ripe seeds ; before that could be done he must cut away the cone. But there he is met with a difficulty : the seeds do not ripen and all get clear on the same day out of a cone. The scales near the small end curl up first. There is no proper time to cut a ripe one and secure more than a very small portion of the seeds. Searching for food very long ago in squirrel history they put their teeth into the green cone, and discovered the juicy seeds and ate them. What they did not need they hid away, as they would do with some other food, and the habit was of so much value that the squirrels who did that were able to live over winter in pine forests. Our squirrels now do by inherited habit what was acquired by other gen-


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