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Ask the Squirrelologist: What to Store and How Much?

Ask the Squirrelologist: What to Store and How Much?

By Vince Mancuso, StorageUnit.com Dr. Phil Myers joins StorageUnit.com again for another round of “Ask the Squirrelologist” to honor our beloved mascot, Hazel the Squirrel. Myers currently serves as Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Curator Emeritus of Mammals at the University of Michigan and is also one of the brilliant minds behind Animal Diversity Web, a site dedicated to giving information about all sorts of animals—including 95 species of squirrels! Last time we spoke, we focused on how our furry friends select the best location for storing their food. However, this time we’re going to shift gears and focus on exactly what it is these creatures store and just how much space it takes to store it. Hey there, Dr. Myers, last time we talked to you about how squirrels pick a spot to store their things, but we never really asked: what exactly do they store? Is it just food? As far as I know, just food. They of course collect things like sticks and leaves that they use to create their nests, but that’s not really “storage.” Squirrels that rely mainly on perishable items (like Abert’s squirrels in the western U.S.) generally don’t store food. What kind of food do they store? Generally, things that aren’t perishable. Seeds, nuts, dried mushrooms, and pine cones; not soft fruit. Interesting, do they ever store more exotic food sources? Dead birds. Yikes, seriously? Yes, several kinds of squirrels consume baby birds or other things that would rot. I wouldn’t recommend storing anything like that in a storage unit. How much of this stuff do they typically store? Is it...
Campaign Against Clutter: Reclaim the Garage

Campaign Against Clutter: Reclaim the Garage

By Vince Mancuso, StorageUnit.com When it comes to storage at home, there’s no doubt one of the best places to stash, place, or set things aside is in the garage. It’s a place that rarely has to look pretty, and as long as there’s space to park, that’s just fine. But what happens when your storage space could use storage space? The downfall of being a good junk room is that your garage can quickly get too full and unusable for its intended purpose—parking your car. The Campaign Against Clutter will always be here for those found in this perilous spot, standing against clutter at home no matter where it appears. And a storage unit can stand up to any cluttered garage you may have—even a three-car. We don’t scare easily. The Situation You and your roommates are sharing a house, and while your own bedrooms are clearly your own, the garage is more of muddy communal space in more ways than one. Between the three of you, you’ve got two rakes, your landlord’s lawn mower, five coolers, a deep freeze from your parents’ old house, and a bicycle from that one summer you decided to be fit. Oh, and boxes, more boxes than you can count full of miscellaneous stuff from years gone by. Previously, you had no concerns about this organized chaos in your garage—until it’s your week to park in the garage, and there’s no space for your car. The Solution When you’ve collected too much clutter in your garage, you’re pretty much out of luck when it comes to finding more space at home. You could...
Ask the Squirrelologist: How to Choose a Storage Location

Ask the Squirrelologist: How to Choose a Storage Location

By Vince Mancuso, StorageUnit.com We’re here again with Dr. Phil Myers, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Curator Emeritus of Mammals at the University of Michigan, as well as one of the brilliant minds behind Animal Diversity Web, a site dedicated to giving information about all sorts of animals, including 95 species of squirrels! While this is an impressive resume, here at StorageUnit.com, we just call him a squirrelologist—our expert on all things squirrel. We turn again to our squirrelologist to further honor and gain inspiration from our beloved mascot, Hazel the Squirrel, and to learn a bit more about the many storage locations squirrels use when stashing their cache of food. Hello, Dr. Myers, how are you doing today? Run into any squirrels lately? All the usual suspects here in Michigan—fox squirrels, gray squirrels, red squirrels, still a few eastern chipmunks active in November (but underground for the winter now in December), southern flying squirrels on the bird feeder at night. The woodchucks (also squirrels!) have hibernated, so we’re not seeing them and won’t until spring. Last time we spoke, it was about some of the basics of squirrel preparation for storage. You mentioned a bit about chipmunks storing their food underground, do any other squirrels select particular spots for storage? I don’t think we know how our tree squirrels, which bury nuts individually, choose their places. Northern and southern flying squirrels are said to cache food items in tree cavities, including their nests. Underground storage sounds a lot like indoor storage we humans may use. Why is it that these squirrels select covered areas for storing...
Ask the Squirrelologist: How to Plan for Storage

Ask the Squirrelologist: How to Plan for Storage

By Vince Mancuso, StorageUnit.com Squirrels are wonderful creatures, furry and seemingly friendly, eagerly dancing from tree to fence to tree, and always ready to chat it up with their neighbors. While managing a balancing act between the domesticated and natural landscapes, the squirrel can offer valuable life insights to those willing to learn. As a way to honor and learn from our beloved mascot, Hazel the Squirrel, StorageUnit.com spoke with Professor Phil Myers of the University of Michigan to ask what we can learn from the squirrels when it comes to self storage. Our first conversation went a little something like this: Hello, before we begin, can you tell us a little about yourself? I’m a mammalogist, a person who studies the biology of mammals. I am now a Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Curator Emeritus of Mammals at the University of Michigan, and I’m responsible for the Animal Diversity Web, a website that provides detailed information about the lives of many species of animals—including 95 species of squirrels! How long have you studied mammals? Since I was a kid, and I’m 67. Formally, since 1969. Wow, with so much experience, I imagine you’ve seen and studied quite a bit. Over my career I’ve focused most of my efforts on the ecology and evolutionary biology of small mammals such as rodents (including squirrels!), shrews, and bats. Most recently, I’ve been looking at the impact of climate change on the species of small mammals present around the Great Lakes. Our focus is primarily on squirrels. I guess you could call us squirrelologists of sorts. That is what you call...