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What Does 'Splooting' Mean? And Why are New York's Squirrels Doing It?

By Adela Suliman

12 Aug 2022 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

Squirrels in New York have been spotted using an inventive method to keep cool in the heat. The Washington Post reports on how “splooting” has become something of a trend.

LONDON - People strolling through New York City's parks may be stopped in their tracks this summer by a squirrel sprawled out, face down, limbs outstretched and lying still. Don't be alarmed, says the city's Department of Parks and Recreation. They're just "splooting."

A tweet by the parks agency earlier this week went viral online, confusing and delighting people in equal measure, after it advised: "If you see a squirrel lying down like this, don't worry; it's just fine." It added that "on hot days, squirrels keep cool by splooting (stretching out) on cool surfaces to reduce body heat. It is sometimes referred to as heat dumping."

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