NYC Squirrels Stretch Out on the Ground in the Heat – NBC New York

NEW YORK — Lately New York City squirrels can be found in a very particular position called splooting in English. And it is that rodents have been seen lying on the floor as if they were stretching. You know why?

It may seem strange to humans, but stretching—basically lying on the floor—is the best way our four-legged friends (or foes) try to beat the heat. These positions are particularly epic, if you’ve had a chance to witness one.

If you see any squirrels in New York City parks doing the same thing—lying on their stomachs and stretching out their back legs—parks officials want you to know they’re not in danger.

“Okay,” NYC Parks tweeted Monday, along with a photo of a stretched-out squirrel. “On hot days, squirrels keep cool by stretching out on cool surfaces to reduce body heat. This is sometimes called heat discharge.”

It’s possible, of course, that humans could test this on tiled floors. Those cool tiles are what give your pets relief when you see them stretched out on the surface.

The splooting, as they call it in English, of squirrels in New York City is not a new phenomenon. Gothamist reported on this back in 2019. The recent heat is only making the behavior more common and more likely that we’ll witness it (and, perhaps, dream of doing it ourselves).

Naturally, the resurgence has prompted more pressing questions: Do red-tailed hawks do it? Is that why my dachshund does it? What about the rabbits?

According to NYC Parks, young birds “can show that full stretch at times,” but they usually don’t lie down because it makes them too vulnerable. They perch and spread their wings to facilitate airflow.

Parks’ tweet clearly struck a nerve, with nearly 8,500 users liking it since it was posted Monday afternoon. Some of the 880+ dating tweets are pretty hilarious, if you’re running into each other at lunch (or in the park).

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