If there are scientists out there are considering a study to determine which rodent – the squirrel or the groundhog – possesses superior intelligence, I can save them the trouble. While not scientific, I think this experiment is conclusive.
Recently a groundhog dug its way under our front porch and took up residence beneath it. The soil in our neighbourhood is sandy, making it easy work for the rodent to dig in and make itself at home. Ben has done battle with them before and this time was no exception.
He borrowed a “trap and release” cage from a neighbour, filled it with a trail of apples and carrots and placed it near the groundhog’s “front door”, (i.e. the hole he dug beneath our porch). By following the trail, the groundhog would trigger a release to cause the cage door to shut and trap him inside.
The next day all the treats were gone and the cage empty. Since the lever to shut the cage door had not been triggered, I was sure a squirrel had helped itself to the treats and left without even a thank you. A groundhog is heavier, I thought, and would surely have triggered the mechanism. Based on this assumption, I awarded one point to the squirrel.
Squirrel-1; Groundhog-0 : The squirrel managed to get the treats without being trapped.
NOTE: The results of this phase of the study are based on pure speculation since we did not see the squirrel enjoy the carrots and apples and make its escape.
DAYS 2 & 3:
With adjustments made to the trigger-lever and the cage refilled with treats, we entered the next phase of the experiment. For the next two nights, neither rodent made its way into the cage. The wily groundhog, however, dug a new entrance to his home beneath our porch in a spot far from the cage indicating he knows a trap when he sees one.
Success! From the window of our living room, we saw movement inside the cage and hoped it was our squatter. Our elation quickly dissipated and my earlier assumption was disproved when we saw that a squirrel was in the cage. (So how did a critter manage to get in the cage, eat the treats and get out without being trapped on Day 1?) Ben lifted the cage door and the squirrel quickly left with a full tummy. Preliminary findings seem to indicate that the groundhog has superior intelligence.
The results of Day 4 were confirmed when, once again, a squirrel took the bait and found itself trapped in our cage. Still no sign of the groundhog though the holes we fill are dug anew each night, indicating he is still living under our porch.
This experiment proves that a groundhog’s intelligence is superior to that of a squirrel. Unfortunately, though it may require further study, the results may also indicate that the groundhog’s intelligence is superior to humans...